Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have one of the best starting fives in the NBA and Damian Lillard is barely entering the third year of his young NBA career. LaMarcus Aldridge is coming off a career year and Portland has a nearly unstoppable three-point attack that can swing the result of games on any given night. Considering all that this team accomplished last season, the Blazers want to improve on a feel-good season and make an even deeper postseason run in 2014-15.
We saw last season what happens when a promising team has all the injury luck in the world. The Blazers got off a to hot start and though they cooled as the season progressed, Portland was able to remain one of the best teams in the NBA despite having a less than mediocre defense. If Terry Stotts can get his team to replicate that same kind of start, Portland will be in business.
Unfortunately, too much went perfectly right for Portland last season and they still had no prayer of upsetting the Spurs in the second round. Why? Well because of the same two major problems that will plague the Blazers this season as well: defense and depth. You can’t win a championship without at least a top 10 defense and you certainly can’t win one with Steve Blake and Chris Kaman as your best players coming off the bench.
C.J. McCollum has a chance to be better than he showed last year as a rookie, but once you get past this team’s starting five, Portland is still extremely vulnerable. If the Blazers don’t enjoy the same kind of unbelievable injury luck that they had last year, they very well could wind up as the sixth or seventh seed in the West only one year removed from a memorable first round playoff victory.