Trail Mix: Blazers off-day round-up

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Portland Trail Blazers are three games in to a four-game road trip but are off for the next few days. They pick things up again Friday in Phoenix against the Suns. I know that all of the losing and the fact that another team in town won a championship may be driving interest away from these guys. But I know that there are some die-hards out there, looking for some Blazers news and since I don’t have any today, here’s some of the best stuff I could find on the internet.

Mike Richman of The Oregonian wrote a nice feature on Allen Crabbe in the middle of his breakout season. After Tuesday’s game, Crabbe has scored in double-figures off the Blazers bench in four straight games. Through 23 games, Crabbe has already eclipsed his point total from the previous two seasons combined.

Casey Holdahl of parsed through the NBA’s mountain of SportVU data to find out how the Blazers ranked in some of the fancier next-gen statistics. It turns out that Portland’s backcourt of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard are in the top-six in the league in distance travelled. And on the offensive end, both are in the top-five in distance travelled. The latter should be a given considering there aren’t many backcourts that are asked to do as much as Portland’s duo are. There are lots of other stats to look at there that Holdahl looked at, which you should check out.

Jason Quick of CSN and posits that the Blazers are the best losing team in the NBA and gets insight from players on how they’re dealing with losing games they’ve had in hand. I’ve always felt that 32 wins was their destiny, to sit historically alongside the last great losing team Portland had in 2012-13. But unlike that season, the bottom of the West is a complete crap shoot this year and nobody is stepping up to the plate for the No. 7 or No. 8 seed yet. Quick has some interesting nuggets from a couple of Blazers and also brings a nice reminder that the Blazers are $14 million below the league-mandated salary floor. The Blazers have the 8th best net-rating in the Western Conference, better than Memphis and Houston who are both currently in the playoff picture. According to Basketball-Reference, the Blazers expected win-loss record is 11-12. So when the Blazers talk about believing their record should be better, they’re not wrong.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts made a nice gesture which came to light after Portland’s game in Milwaukee on Monday. Stotts made a donation to a Milwaukee-area organization that helps fight childhood cancer.  Stotts coached in Milwaukee both as an assistant and as the man in charge for several seasons, but he’s also donated to the organization for several years. (Hat-tip to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian for the find).

Eric Griffith of Blazers Edge took a look at Mason Plumlee’s rim-protection. The Blazers haven’t exactly protected the rim and Plumlee himself has been exposed quite a bit in the pick and roll. But here Griffith takes a look at Plumlee’s athleticism and the potential he has to eventually be the anchor the Blazers defense needs.

Another episode of the Blazer Banter podcast is up on our blog, The Columbian’s SoundCloud page and iTunes.

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Erik Gundersen

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's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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