Blazer Banter

Lowe: Blazers have real bench, need health and randomness for playoffs

Grantland.com’s NBA writer Zach Lowe, a regular must-read for NBA fans on Tuesday’s, released his season preview where he broke down all 30 NBA teams in groups. He put the Trail Blazers as part of  ”The Western Conference morass: Can Anyone Defend?”

Lowe profiled the Trail Blazers in the offseason and was skeptical about whether their new changes can lead to defensive success.

Here’s Lowe’s capsule on the Trail Blazers and their outlook for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers

It’s all about defense here, too, and as I’ve written before, I’m skeptical the Blazers can build a good one this season — even with Robin Lopez onboard, and Terry Stotts installing a more conservative pick-and-roll scheme to fit Lopez’s strengths. But like the Mavs and Wolves, the Blazers should make a serious push to rank among the league’s half-dozen best offenses. They’ve got a ton of 3-point shooting around a legit post hub in LaMarcus Aldridge, and Nicolas Batum emerged last season as a very nice secondary ball handler in Stotts’s “flow” system. For a 15-game stretch after dealing for Eric Maynor, an actual NBA-level bench player, Portland sported the league’s best offense, per NBA.com, before spiraling into a season-ending free fall.

And they have a real bench this season! With real NBA players and everything! C.J. McCollum’s broken foot dents that depth a bit, but the Blazers have some talent. Gun to my head, they’re in the lottery again, but health and some randomness could take them above Denver, Minnesota, and Dallas.

Read the full breakdown here for all 30 teams.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers news.

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