Are the Trail Blazers for real as a playoff team or still to early?
I'm not asking if they are a contender but being 8-2 at the moment (with 6 straight wins) can they make the playoffs . They haven't been blowing any games out but winning close ones.
They are using a 9 man rotation which seen to be coherent on offence. Wesley Mathews is on fire so far this year as he is Shooting 54-50-80.
I am biased but a sixth seed shouldn't be out of reach. With SAS,OKC,LAC,HOU,GSW ahead of them. Memphis has been struggling so far but I think they will figure it out and be in the mix.
As a fellow Blazer fan, I think it's sort of a lose-lose situation for the Blazers.
If they make the playoffs, it's unlikely they go far. A long with being ousted early in the playoffs, they forfeit their rights to their draft pick. In a draft like this year's, a pick like that could end up being a versatile wing scorer like James Young or Wayne Selden. I think the Blazers are that one legit wing scorer away from being a legit team. As much as I love Batum and Matthews, I think they have more complimentary games. With a guy like James Young or Selden, you could have that third scorer that's almost become necessary to succeed in today's game. Look at OKC, they have two of the game's top scorers yet they are considered weaker than ever for not having a legit third option. If it were up to me, and it really isn't, I would aim at getting a Young or Selden in this draft and starting them off the bench, and slowly easing them into the starting role over Matthews a few years forward.
The other losing situation is that if they don't make the playoffs, it could upset Aldridge. It could make it likely for him to demand a trade, and unless Portland can get some equal or close to equal value, I'd find it a losing situation.
I just feel like even if Portland has a great year, they won't have that draft pick to make the next step. On the flip side if they flop and miss the playoffs and end up with that lottoe pick, they could be taking one step forward with that draft selection and three steps back with the potential loss of Aldridge.
I might just be pessimistic and I hope none of this is comes to happening. I'd rather prefer they make the playoffs and aim at another possible free agency signing to fill out the roster rather than risk their number one option in Aldridge to try to draft a number three option.
I think they can. They fixed their bench, which was their glaring issue. The Aldridge-Batum-Lillard trio has become one of the more solid trios in the L. Matthews is always solid and Lopez has surprised me with his play this season. I expected 7-5 from him while struggling to capture big minutes.
How far could they go really depends on Aldridge though.
There really is no better word to describe this team than solid. They don't do anything spectacular but they do everything very well. Top-10 in the L in scoring, rebounds, and assists and middle of the pack on defense.
It's tough to say whether they'll make the playoffs or not since the West is stacked. If they were in the East, sure, they'd slip right in and be one of the better teams. But on the West, you have the Mavs, Grizzlies, Blazers, TWolves, Nuggets, Hornets, and maybe the Lakers w/Kobe fighting for 3 spots. (Seemingly, OKC, HOU, LAC, SAS, & GSW are as close as you can get to being locks).
If I were a betting man though, I'd say the Blazers do have more talent (on paper) than the Mavs, Nuggets, Hornets, and Lakers.
You Blazers fans aren't naturally optimistic, and I don't blame you, but this team is actually pretty darn good...
Let's take a look at their ingredients
1) Athletic and Explosive Play-Maker - Damian Lillard
2) Excellent Shooter - Wesley Matthews
3) Jack of all trades - Nicolas Batum
4) Legit #1 Option - LaMarcus Aldridge
5) Defensive Minded Center - Robin Lopez
Essentially, that is a blueprint for success...I can't think of a hole they're missing
Willing Banger: Thomas Robinson
High IQ, Good Passing Big Man - Joel Freeland
Veteran point guard who can still produce - Mo Williams
Rookie combo guard who may contribute when he gets healthy - CJ McCollum
Three point sniper off the pine - Dorell Wright
To speak of this team's improvement from last year: A guy who started quite a few games at shooting guard for them last year (will barton) hasn't even scored a single point this season and has found himself buried on the depth chart...
Overall, Portland has a lot to be excited about. Watching them the other night, they play together and in control and actually looked very good. They could make a splash this year - depending on the play of Lillard to be quite honest... and if they stay healthy!!
I had them as a 7 or 8 seed in the pre-season, so yes, I think they can make it. Lillard has improved, Aldridge is one of the best PF's in the league, Batum is a great lockdown defender/glue guy. They are solid, and have a bright future.
Imagine if Brandon Roy and Greg Oden were healthy and still playing on their squad.....
Blazers are a legit team. Being underrated will also play in their favor. Like the poster above stated, their weakness was their bench, which has been upgraded. Keep in mind McCallum has been out and we expect big things from him. Lopez has been a surprise at the 5, but if their were somewhere to improve it will be at that position.
They also have 2 picks in this year's first round, golden state's. Doubtful either will be high, but this is a deep Draft and it'll only help. I'll much rather see them try to move them for another starting center though like Asik.
I think I'm mistaken. Did Portland get golden state's pick last year? ?
How's Myers Leonard doing? Bust or potential to eventually become their starting 5?
Not a bust, but Freeland beat him out as the team's backup center. Leonard, in my opinion, will eventually be a starter, but he's just not ready to play a big role for a team with playoff aspirations. Like many young bigs, he's a foul machine. I think that and the experience of Freeland has hurt him the most when it comes to getting minutes.
This team has enough if they played to their potential. Tanking when you should be a good contending team is just ridculous to me. Four of their five starters are top 10 or 15 guys in their position. If the mind set was to lose and get a rookie to put them over the hump, if i was one of those players, I'll be searching for a new home asap.
i think they get playoff spot,but blazers could sneak in at 7th or 8th seed.I love their team and Damian Lillard will be best pg in nba in 3 years.That 3 that he hit against Toronto to tie the game showed that he has balls and that killer instict that only great players have
Like many teams, but more importantly the Blazers and the T-Wolves, their success is going to depend on their health. Portland has always been on of the injury bugs favorite target and Mcollum has already been bit. If he comes back healthy, the rest of the team can stay somewhat healthy and they continue to build on their chemistry I Could see him beating out the Rockets for the 5th seed, but that's me being boldly optimistic, and no I'm not a Blazer fan, just want them to make it based off recent history.
Before the season started I was thinking - Playoff will probably be Thunder, Spurs, Clips, Grizz (they'll pick it up), Rockets and Warriors (imo) in the top 6, and I feel like the T-Wolves and the Blazers will be 7th and 8th (just my predictions, but it's very tough to call those last two). I still feel the same way. I think the biggest challenger for them down the stretch will be Dallas, with the Lakers, Pelicans and Nuggets being wild cards. Health is key.
Man, they're really benefitting from people giving up on Thomas Robinson so early. His numbers don't jump off the page at you because he's playing behind LA and not logging huge minutes, but his 5.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 11.6 mpg translate to 18.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg per 36 minutes and he was at it again last night tallying 9 points and 7 rebounds in only 13 minutes.