Notice Should the Blazers Be Considered Early Playoff Locks?

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by BigGameDamian, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. BigGameDamian

    BigGameDamian Well-Known Member

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    https://www.blazersedge.com/2019/9/5/20851965/trail-blazers-nba-playoffs-locks-lowe-simmons

    Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe look at Portland’s place in the Western Conference

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    As experts reflect on a busy offseason and look ahead to next season, the Portland Trail Blazers often find themselves grouped in the tier of teams that are likely to make the 2020 NBA playoffs. There’s still a full season ahead, of course, but it’s a fun exercise to predict how the Western Conference will shake out.

    Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe went through Western Conference playoff picture on the latest Lowe Post podcast. Lowe asked Simmons if there was a team out of six consensus playoff locks — the Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets, Jazz, Blazers and Rockets — that he isn’t prepared to call a lock just yet. Simmons picked the Blazers:

    “I’m not saying they’re going to suck, I’m just saying, a lot of things went right for them last year — until the Nurkic injury, which was obviously terrible. They had a great season, they made the conference finals, career year for Dame [Lillard], and now it’s a year later: we have no idea when Nurkic is coming back, Hassan Whiteside is involved … and I just didn’t think they got better.”

    Lowe was in agreement as both experts talked about how much better the Western Conference got in the offseason. You can listen to the full episode here.

    What are your thoughts on Portland’s possible standing in the West? Let us know in the comments.
     
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  2. tester551

    tester551 Well-Known Member

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    Agree with them. Fair take. Blazers are not a lock to make the playoffs.

    Out of that group of teams, I'd also say the Lakers are not locks either. I'd put GSW in the Lakers place
     
  3. fumanchu

    fumanchu Active Member

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    Agree too. All the Blazers moves seem lateral on offense and slightly worse on defense. That said, Dame is going to get them to the playoffs through sheer force of will.
     
  4. e_blazer

    e_blazer Rip City Fan

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    To me, the most important “moves” that will help determine if the Blazers are a lock are the decisions to promote Collins and Simons. If those two guys fulfill the expectations that the management is putting on them, then the Blazers will be a handful. The other unknown is when does Nurk come back and how long does it take to regain his form? I haven’t seen any “experts” talk about the impact of the Blazers having a one-two punch at the center position like Nurk and Whiteside.
     
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  5. julius

    julius Global Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Lateral on offense? Hood and Bazemore can actually create for themselves and aren't butter fingers like Aminu, and don't seem to vanish throughout the game like Moe..and worse on defense? That's grossly overstating Aminu's defensive abilities, and underselling Whitesides defensive abilities (and rebounding).
     
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  6. JDC

    JDC Well-Known Member

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    This team has distinct strengths and some question marks.

    But I think Lillard, possible dominant rebounding on both ends and increased 3pt rate / shot creation gives this group a pretty high floor with upside.

    If we get good shooting years from Zach and Baze and Simons meets even just 50% of expectations, we'll be more than ok.
     
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  7. hoopsjock

    hoopsjock Well-Known Member

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    To add to this, if for some reason Baze and/or Whiteside don't fit in they're big expiring contracts that will be easily moveable for other parts. Plus having an open roster spot will allow Olshey to add someone off the buyout market to bolster any holes.
     
  8. wizenheimer

    wizenheimer Well-Known Member

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    I don't see Bazemore or Hood as Aminu replacements. They are the Mo/Turner replacements. In that regard, the offense should be better, but the defense will likely be worse, if for no other reason in terms of defensive versatility. Trade-offs; and that all needs to be mitigated by the fact that Hood averaged 24 minutes last season over 39 games (including playoffs). He was already a contributor last season so he's not a new add like Bazemore. In other words, Hood next season could be mainly replacing Hood last season (and Stauskas). Bazemore can't, by himself, replace the 46 minutes of Mo and ET. That will have to come from guys like Hezonja and Simons. Which means the inconsistency of Mo could be replaced by the inconsistency of those younger, unproven guys...and definitely there's a downgrade in defense

    Portland had an Aminu & Zach rotation at PF; essentially 2 years of it. That looks like it will be replaced by a Zach & Tolliver rotation (with Hezonja and Skal as wild cards). Again, that would appear to be a potential offensive upgrade but a definite defensive downgrade. And no, Aminu's defense wasn't being overrated.

    and Whiteside isn't replacing Kanter, he's replacing Nurkic. So, the defensive level at C hasn't been upgraded. Certainly, Whiteside is a great rebounder and that counts for some things. But he's a piss-poor passer; somebody with a career assist mark of 0.6 a game and a usage rate over 22% fits the definition of black hole. Put another way, the concerns expressed about Whiteside in that podcast have some foundation

    Portland isn't a "lock" but then probably no team really is. Shit happens. But the odds of the Blazers making the playoffs are quite high. I agree that at least on paper, Portland's moves appear lateral. More than that, they really appear to be resting on Zach and Simons stepping up big time. Those two just can't get incrementally better. They have to get a lot better and really bring some decent consistency
     
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  9. Hoopguru

    Hoopguru Know where you are going or end up somewhere else!

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    Just my opinion, I think overall team Defense improves this season. We will see how Whiteside's shot blocking and Bazemore playing passing lanes really has an impact. I do think Collins will improve defensively too, especially with Whiteside playing the 5. I see a seasoned veteran team that has both good defenders and scorers. We have to play the games and see just what kind of team they are though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  10. tlongII

    tlongII Legendary Poster

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    Nobody’s a lock in the West and we have as good a chance as anybody.
     
  11. Orion Bailey

    Orion Bailey Well-Known Member

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    No they shouldn't. But they have as good a chance of making top four as they do not making the playoffs.
     
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