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Look for emerging youth, same Damian Lillard in Portland

Portland Trail Blazers

Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2019-20 regular season for all NBA teams is right around the corner. Before that happens, let’s take a look at 3 predictions for the Portland Trail Blazers this season.

After making the Western Conference Finals and having a very eventful offseason, the Portland Trail Blazers head into the 2019-20 season with a ton of optimism. The Blazers moved on from some players who have been valuable to their success the past few years, but they brought in a new group of exciting players to try and help them take the next step.

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They added Pau Gasol, Mario Hezonja, Jaylen Hoard, Anthony Tolliver; kept Rodney Hood in free agency; and drafted Nassir Little from North Carolina in the first round.

Portland also made two big trades this summer that many believe improved their squad. First, they traded Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks for 3-and-D wing Kent Bazemore. Both players are due to make a lot of money this year, but they only have one year left on their deals.

The Turner experiment never worked in Portland, so they moved him for a better fit in their lineup in Bazemore. He is a better shooter, is more athletic than Turner and should play alongside the Blazers stars a lot more smoothly.

The Blazers then made another trade, this one a bit flashier. They acquired Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat for Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless. Portland will be without their starting center from much of last season in Jusuf Nurkic, who is recovering from a horrific leg injury he sustained right before the playoffs.

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They did have Enes Kanter on the roster at the time. He moved into the starting center spot and was huge for the team throughout the end of the regular season and the deep playoff run. Kanter moved on to the Boston Celtics in free agency, so Portland made a move to bring in some help while Nurkic is out.

Whiteside has been labeled as difficult to deal with. But he has unteachable physical tools and athleticism; when he buys in and playing hard, Whiteside is one of the top big men in the NBA. Once Nurkic comes back, the Blazers will have one of the best frontcourts in the league with him, Whiteside and Zach Collins.,

Even with all the new additions to the team, this franchise will only go where Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum lead it. Those two guys make up the best backcourt in the NBA and it will be fun to watch this season now that they seem to have guys around them that fit their skills better and will make the game easier on them.

The Western Conference and the NBA seems a little more balanced now that Kevin Durant is no longer with the Golden State Warriors. But that doesn’t mean things got any easier for the Blazers in conference play as they fight for a top-four seed again.

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Anthony Davis teamed up with LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kawhi Leonard, fresh off an NBA championship, joined the LA Clippers along with Paul George, who the Clippers traded for. Oh, Russell Westbrook also got traded to the Houston Rockets to team up with his buddy James Harden.

The Blazers have a talented roster, an MVP candidate in Lillard and one the of best shooting guards in McCollum. They get to put that all to the test here really soon to see where they stack up with the best of the best. This season could go a lot of different directions, but before any of that happens, here are three predictions for the Blazers this 2019-20 NBA season.

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