Portland was able to get into the second-round of the playoffs, but ran into the San Antonio. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard just keep improving together, but they were not ready for the Spurs. No team was ready for the Spurs.
Portland didn’t mess with the team this off-season. They kept all the starters and just added some bench depth. This could be the season Portland matures and has a nice playoff run.
We will be posting a team preview for every team up until the start of the regular season.
Here is the 2014-15 NBA season preview for the Portland Trail Blazers.
2013-14 Win/Loss Record: 54-28
Key Additions: PG Steve Blake & C Chris Kaman,
Key Losses: PG Mo Williams & PG Earl Watson
Projected Starters: Robin Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews & Damian Lillard
Fantasy Sleeper: SG C.J. McCollum – McCollum was one of the best scorers in college basketball when he was at Lehigh. He has a nice shot and luckily for Lillard, he can make his own shot. McCollum is also a nice perimeter defender and also can run the offense if needed. He will get extended minutes this year and is the handcuff for Matthews.
Team Analysis: I was expecting Damian Lillard to take a leap last season. He’s masterful with the ball and improved his shot. I did not expect the season LaMarcus Aldridge had last season. I was actually expecting him to be traded at some point. It was rumored that he was not happy and that he actually was about to sell his Portland home. He turned into a double-double machine. He was also the leader Portland was hoping he would become (a few years earlier).
Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez do what they are asked to do. They do all the dirty stuff. They rebound, block shots, steal the ball. Every playoff team needs a few of them to stand behind the stars and contribute all over the box score. They let the game flow to them. There isn’t an ego among them.
I look for Portland to possibly make the Western Conference Finals. I don’t think they’ll make it past that round, but I expect the Blazers to take another leap forward. The development of C.J. McCollum and Thomas Robinson will be key to their success. They will add bench depth needed for a playoff run.
2014-15 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 49.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2014-15 Projected Win/Loss Record: 51-31 (5th (tie) in Western Conference)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.