Where does this team go from here?
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Last Season: 51-31 (projected wins at 48.5) and 4th seed (lost to Memphis in 5 games)
Key Additions: Gerald Henderson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, Mason Plumlee
Key Losses: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo
2015-16 Vegas: 26.5 projected wins and 200:1 odds to win NBA Championship
Who is this Portland team? That remains to be unseen, quite frankly, because this team has never been seen! Portland loses four of its five from last year’s 4th-seed playoff team, as well as the 6th-man they traded for at the deadline. It’s Damian Lillard playing with four new guys.
What hit Portland hard is when Aldridge decided to leave the only home he ever knew in the NBA, to go to play with Tim Duncan and the Spurs. That one guy alone wouldn’t have given them a shot at the NBA Finals, but it definitely would’ve had them in the playoff chase towards the end of the year. You take away Batum, who was your three-point guy. You take away Wesley Matthews, who also decided to go to Texas, but this time the Mavericks. Then Afflalo and Lopez swoop into Madison Square Garden… What do you have happening in Portland now? Lillard’s handing off name tags in practice. (YIKES!)
Not to say this Portland team isn’t bad. They were able to acquire Al-Farouq Aminu, and get two promising big men, former 1st round picks, in Mason Plumlee and Noah Vonleh. But do we expect this young team with balding Chris Kaman in the middle, to keep it in the Western playoffs? Well…
Do I see this team as a playoff contender once again? I didn’t want to give it away, so I went on to this question. No, we can’t see this team as a contender for the postseason. 26 wins is about as good as this team can hope for. Hopefully they’re smart and “rest” Lillard a third of their games, so they can get a higher draft pick, but that’s their best chance of making this season worth anything.
What do you think the Trail Blazers can do this season? Let me know in the comments below your expectations!