It's been a long off-season and tonight the Blazers are back in action after reaching the playoffs for the first time in 5 years last year. They had 54 wins in 08-09 and they are going have less this year because of a tougher schedule, even though they will be a better team. Portland is no longer emerging, youth isn't an excuse anymore and the championship window is open. The expectation is that they will make a run at winning the Western Conference since they are the best team in the West to challenge the LA Lakers.
The key to the season is going to be chemistry. They have the depth (their second unit could start for 1/3 of the teams in the league), coach, and foundational pieces (Roy, Oden, & Aldridge - photo above) to make a deep run in the playoffs. It all depends on if the team put personal accomplishments aside for the good of the whole (click here for more).
At the end of the season, everyone will be disappointed if there is another first round playoff exit. With the championship window open they only have a few (3-4) years to make it all the way. Teams climbing the ladder only get 1 or 2 shots at winning it all. This year will be a good test to see if they can go deep into the playoffs and whether they will really be contenders. It will be fun to watch and I can't wait for that championship parade..... soon, very soon.