NBA Team Preview: Portland Trail Blazers
Trail Blazers Intro
The Portland Trail Blazers have been a consistently winning franchise as of late with their two stars in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum leading the way. The team finished last season sixth in the Western Conference due to losing the tiebreaker as they finished 42-30 in a condensed season. They had a busy offseason but overall gotten better and kept Lillard happy.
Portland decided to get a bunch of new faces onto their team during the off-season in an attempt to be a top-tier team in a highly competitive Western Conference. Their biggest move was trading with the Cleveland Cavaliers to get Larry Nance Jr. They also acquired the rights of Greg Brown III, who was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans 43rd overall.
The front office didn’t stop there as they were players in free agency acquiring some mid-level talent as Portland signed Ben McLemore, Patrick Patterson, Dennis Smith Jr, Tony Snell, and Cody Zeller essentially as bench and depth pieces. They also have a new face on the bench as former NBA player Chauncey Billups is their head coach.
The Trail Blazers did lose a handful of rotational players during the offseason as they traded away Derrick Jones Jr to the Chicago Bulls while Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins, Harry Giles III, and Enes Kanter all signed elsewhere as free agents. There are still a pair of players that are unrestricted free agents that are yet to sign a deal as of this writing in T.J. Leaf and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Another big move was the firing of their head coach Terry Stotts right at the beginning of the offseason as he couldn’t turn the Trail Blazers into a contending team.
When talking about the Portland Trail Blazers, there is one name that should immediately jump to mind: point guard Damian Lillard. He finished last season third in scoring and seventh in assists by averaging 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 0.9 steals in 35.8 minutes of action per night. He is undoubtedly the leader of the team and can do wonders with basketball.
His co-star is important as well in shooting guard CJ McCollum. Last season was an injury-plagued year for him as he only played in 47 games but played 34 minutes a night while averaging 23.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 0.9 steals. It’s hard to be competitive with all the skills being in the backcourt but they have meshed well together.
The Trail Blazers are listed to win 44.5 games this season, which feels relatively low compared to their top-tier talent still being a part of the organization. I liked their offseason moves overall and having a basketball mind as Chauncey Billups will only help with a different voice in the locker room. All in all, go with the Portland Trail Blazers to hit OVER 44.5 wins as they are still a playoff team that should succeed.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.