Lowe: Blazers defense will finish 15th or worse
In his Tuesday column, Grantland.com’s Zach Lowe released his “32 Bold Predictions” for the NBA season. Terry Stotts and the Trail Blazers are feeling good about the progress of their defense right now, but Lowe isn’t so bullish on their personnel’s ability to defend at an above average rate.
Number 30 in the list is that “Portland Will Finish 15th or Worse in Points Allowed Per Possession”
Mostly covered here. Robin Lopez will help, Damian Lillard will get better, and Nic Batum is healthy after playing through a bunch of nagging injuries last season. Aldridge can play harder and risk foul trouble now that the Blazers have a real bench, and Terry Stotts is rejiggering the team’s pick-and-roll coverages in a smart way. But the new bench players are mostly minuses on defense, and you have to really squint to see a league-average defense here.
Defense has been the priority for the Blazers throughout training camp and the preseason, but Lowe’s prediction is a reminder that we’ve seen nothing that really matters just yet.