"The West got tougher so the Blazers will lose more" is a terrible argument.

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by BonesJones, Aug 13, 2019 at 5:04 PM.

  1. BonesJones

    BonesJones We got shooters.

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    Last year, the Portland Trail Blazers finished with a measly 29-23 record against the Western Conference. It's safe to say that the Blazers underachieved vs. Western Conference teams, at least in the regular season. That is evident by their combined 1-7 record vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets, the two teams that Portland beat in 7-game series in the post-season (Without Jusuf Nurkic, of course.

    The Lakers and Clippers are used as examples of "tougher" Western Conference teams that Portland will have trouble against. However, Portland lucked out and only play each team 3 times instead of 4. When you look at the schedule, Portland also has favorable circumstances when facing both teams. For the Lakers, the play them twice at home. Combined with their possibility of injury and load management, it won't be hard for Portland to go 1-2 or even 2-1 against the team that they went 2-2 against last year. For the Clippers, Portland will face them in early November when they're likely to be missing Paul George, and on the last night of the regular season, when there's a high probability that the Clips will be resting players.

    However, when you look elsewhere across the Western Conference, I don't see how anyone could logically say that Portland will have a worse record than they did last season. Portland was 24-20 against the other 12 teams in the conference, and for a team as talented as Portland, that's a mark that shouldn't be hard to surpass.

    Let's break it down team by team:

    - The Clippers got better. We were 3-1 against them last year. We'll play them once without PG and on the last night of the season (they might be resting). Prediction: 1-2 or 2-1

    - The Jazz got better but aren't any better than us and they were 2-2 last year. That's what I'm expecting. Prediction: 2-2

    - The Lakers got better but we were 2-2 against them last year. Now we only play them 3 times (twice in Portland), and combined with their injury and load-management possibilities, Prediction: 1-2 or 2-1

    - The Rockets didn't improve much, if at all. Westbrook is more talented than Paul, but a worse fit. They didn't really make any other moves. We were 2-1 against them last year. Prediction: 2-2

    - The Nuggets probably improved because of their youth, but we were 1-3 against them last year. Can't see it getting any worse... Prediction: 1-3 or 2-2

    - The Thunder got much worse, and we were 0-4 against them as well. Prediction: 3-1 or 4-0

    - Dallas is (hypothetically) better, but not better than us. We went 2-2 verse them. If anything, we gain a game. Prediction: 2-2 or 3-1

    - Golden State got worse, we split 2-2 with them. I don't expect to be worse considering we play them 3 times without Klay. Prediction: 2-2

    - San Antonio didn't get any better. We split 2-2 with them. I don't expect anything worse. Prediction: 2-2

    - Sacremento got better because of youth, but we were 2-1 against them last season. Prediction: 2-2 or 3-1

    - New Orleans did improve a bit, and we were 3-0 against them. We're still the better team though. Prediction 2-2 or 3-1

    - Hard to say Minnesota got better. We were 3-1 against them last year. I see a repeat. Prediction 3-1

    - The Grizzlies and Suns aren't good. We might lose a game or two though. We play them a total of 7 times. Prediction 5-2 to 7-0

    Last years record vs. Western Conference: 29-23

    My 2019-2020 prediction vs. Western Conference: 28-24 to 37-15

    So playing it on the safe side, I only see Portland declining a game or so against the Western Conference. Of course, Portland could lose ground against the East, as they went 24-6 against the Eastern Conference last year, but the "West has gotten better", so therefore, the East has to have gotten worse...

    So I'm tired of hearing the uneducated argument that Portland will win 8 or 10 less games because of "how much tougher the West has gotten". That's an argument that's used every year by those who sleep on the team (every single year). It seems to me that people have forgotten how much we underachieved last year against the Western Conference. To only win the widely-predicted 45 games, Portland would have to have a .500 record against the Western Conference and lose 5 more games against the implied "weaker Eastern Conference". I don't see either of those things happening.

    To me, this argument isn't logical in the slightest.
     
  2. Hoopguru

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

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    I just think Hood and Bazemore will be more consistently productive overall than AFA & Harkless.
    With Collins, Whiteside and Pau holding things down for Nurk, and hopefully the 3rd year leap for Zman the team should be in the thick of it.
    If Anfernee takes off we will be fun to watch.
     
  3. Mediocre Man

    Mediocre Man Mr. SportsTwo

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    So the Blazers will only be worse against teams that matter?
     
  4. Tince

    Tince Well-Known Member

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    Nice breakdown. What is your projected wins for the entire season? I'm assuming you are well over the number Vegas has set.
     
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  5. oldfisherman

    oldfisherman Unicorn Wrangler

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    Solid points all around.

    It feels like this roster is ready to pop a bunch of big games. Lots of possible candidates to improve their game.

    I hope they all improve. But my secret wish is for CJ to improve his efficiency.
     
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  6. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    Haven't even seen any of these teams play yet...including ours...I'd say our bench will need to be a huge X factor this season. I believe our starters can hold their own against the contenders...it's the bench that will give you some separation in the standings..Denver and Utah have great benches..the Bucks have a great bench.
     
  7. TorturedBlazerFan

    TorturedBlazerFan Well-Known Member

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    Im not sure what to make of the Blazers this year, its almost an entirely new team... It seems to me they’re really banking on Simons and Zach being ready to play big roles for them.
     
  8. BonesJones

    BonesJones We got shooters.

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    Playing it safe: 51 wins! 30-22 against the West, 21-9 against the East.
     
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  9. BonesJones

    BonesJones We got shooters.

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    Do you not think we underachieved against the West last year?

    Am I being too positive for Riverman?!

    :minismile:
     
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  10. TorturedBlazerFan

    TorturedBlazerFan Well-Known Member

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    Im not River, but I thought they kind of over achieved vs the east. Seems like they won a lot of games over there and never really had one of those road trips that just sucked.
     
  11. Titan

    Titan Well-Known Member

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    I can see the OP’s point. One way to look at this season is that best case cannot happen for all teams. Might as just root for the Blazers.
     
  12. BonesJones

    BonesJones We got shooters.

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    Also, I disagree mightily on Utah's bench. I wouldnt say its great.

    Dante Exum
    Emmanuel Mudiay
    Royce O'Neale
    Jeff Green
    Ed Davis

    Meh.

    Denver's bench is great defensively, but the offensr of that unit is lacking IMO.

    Monte Morris
    Malik Beasley
    Torrey Craig
    Jerami Grant
    Mason Plumlee
     
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  13. BonesJones

    BonesJones We got shooters.

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    But if the West got "so much better", then the East had to get "so much worse". Thats what these 45-win projections are based on. So based off their logic, I dont see how they could expect a decline against Eastern Conference teams. Im arguing the logic of these low-ball predictions.
     
  14. TorturedBlazerFan

    TorturedBlazerFan Well-Known Member

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    I understand that, I wasn't necessarily arguing the same point, just saying why I am cautiously optimistic for the season.

    I did point I thought they probably over achieved a bit vs the east (probably just a game or two though).
     
  15. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    I predict 54 wins...nobody is too positive for me when it comes to this team...riverman is a fan and with my annual 54 win predictions, we didn't cut it getting just 53 last season damnit!
     
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  16. JDC

    JDC Well-Known Member

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    Nurkic vs Whiteside - How big is the downgrade offensively?

    How effective is Collins + Whiteside?

    Defending big wings / stretch 4's? Collins took a step back here last year. Hood is just ok on D and Bazemore is more of a 1/2 defender.

    What are we going to get from Simons?

    These questions / issues will have more of an affect on our record than anything else.

    I do like our top 9 right now though and think this roster has good upside if things go right.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 6:26 PM
  17. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    If we had had both Nurk and Kantor in the rotation all through the playoffs and end of the regular season we would have done more damage...losing Nurk last year weakened our bench chemistry and changed our starters roster.
     
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  18. Chris Craig

    Chris Craig Blazersland Staff Member Moderator

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    Utah's bench isnt that great
     
  19. Chris Craig

    Chris Craig Blazersland Staff Member Moderator

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    Craig is a starter. You think they are going to start Porter Jr?
     
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  20. JDC

    JDC Well-Known Member

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    Will Barton
     
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