Season preview: Portland Trail Blazers

Season preview: Portland Trail Blazers


Season preview: Portland Trail Blazers

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STAYING: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wade Baldwin, Zach Collins, Moe Harkless, Jake Layman, Meyers Leonard, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Caleb Swanigan and Evan Turner.

ADDED: Seth Curry (Dallas), Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy), Nik Stauskas (Brooklyn) and Gary Trent Jr (Duke).

GONE: Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee), Ed Davis (Brooklyn), Shabazz Napier (Brooklyn), Georgios Papagiannis (Panathinaikos) and CJ Wilcox.

STRENGTHS: Outstanding offensive backcourt with an All-NBA 1st Team selection at point and a borderline All-Star at the two-guard … Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combine for almost 50 points per contest … The former gets to the free-throw line a lot and shoots threes with gusto … The latter has shot better than 39 percent from beyond the arc the last four seasons … Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, JJ Redick and Kyle Korver are the only other players to accomplish that … They have a solid two-way center in Jusuf Nurkic and quite a workhorse in Al-Farouq Aminu … He hits threes now too, which is a welcome bonus … They were among the best rebounding teams in the NBA last year.

WEAKNESSES: Supporting cast is not one to be thrilled about for now … Unimpressive depth … They look stuck in good-but-not-great zone … That doesn’t cut it in the Western Conference … They outperformed expectations in the last two regular seasons, then fell flat on their faces in the playoffs with two straight 4-0 losses … Is that a pattern?

PREDICTION: 4th in the Northwest Division, 7th in the Western Conference.


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