Blazers were one of the biggest surprises last season. Coach Terry Stots did a great job with this team, and they were able to reach the Conference Semifinals even without LaMarucs Aldridge. They had a great run last year, but can they match that again if not top it?
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and that is undisputed. What he did for this team after the All-Star break was just sensational and he was a legitimate MVP Candidate. His backcourt teammate CJ McCollum was NBA’s Most Improved Player. He was the reason why Blazers were able to make the playoffs even after losing Aldridge.
Lillard will again score a lot this season and will be in the MVP discussion as long as this team is playing winning basketball. Evan Turner is their biggest free agent addition, but he is a guy that needs to have the ball in order to be effective. He thrived in Boston as a 6th man and really helped that Celtics’ second unit when it comes to putting the ball in the hole.
Festus Ezeli will likely be their starting center that will give rim protection Blazers need. He is a decent signing for this team, and it will be interesting to see how will they utilize his skills and what level of involvement on the offensive side of the ball he can show.
Portland overachieved last season. They were able to eliminate the Clippers in six games, but that was not as big of an achievement as it sounds. Both Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin, were out for Games 5 and 6. Chris Paul didn’t finish Game 4 nor did Blake Griffin. Los Angeles would have probably defeated this Blazers squad if they were healthy and 100 percent ready. Portland looks like a playoff team this season, but nothing more than that. We pick them to win 47 games and go 47-35, earn the 7th seed in the Western Conference, but lose in five games in Round 1.