The Trail Blazers loaded up on talent for the upcoming season, through the draft as well as with good health from Greg Oden. But here’s the Oregonian (Joe Freeman) reporting:

The biggest surprise of the practice was that Nicolas Batum worked extensively with the starting unit. The 19-year-old rookie forward from France has been a standout during exhibition play, and coach Nate McMillan — who is searching for a replacement for the injured Martell Webster — said he wanted to experiment with Batum in the first unit. McMillan also plans to look at Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez as potential starters.

Portland is one of everyone’s must-watch teams this season. They aren’t necesarily going to be a great team, but after the potential they showed last year and all the talent they have on board, I’ll be going out of my way to watch their development, and you should, too.