Portland won 53 games last year in route to their Conference Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors. It was a really good year though the broken leg Jusuf Nurkic sustained during the season was a big loss. He isn’t expected to return until February and veteran Hassan Whiteside will be expected to fill the void until he returns. He’s a double double guy who should be a decent place holder but isn’t as dynamic as Nurkic. Portland of course has one of the top backcourts in Damian Lillard (25ppg/6apg) and CJ McCollum (21ppg/3apg) and that’s a lot to be happy about. They’ll again be called upon to carry this team. They are both on long term contracts and have shown they are up to the task.
As it seems every year it seems like the front court will be the big question. Gone are Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless who weren’t exciting players but they were a known quantity. I think that means Rodney Hood now moves to SF and Zach Collins will be the starting PF. My biggest concerns are their defense and how they’ll match up. The loss of Seth Curry and his three point shooting will really be missed as well. Like many Trail Blazer fans I wonder if we’ll get more Anfernee Simmons this year. He has shown some brilliance in short spurts and has us all wondering if he could be a good if not great option on offense long term. A natural SG it would seem his path is mostly blocked but maybe he sees more time at SF. This team begins and ends with Lillard and McCollom. Can they take it to the next level is the question. I’m concerned with the supporting roster not being where any fan would like it to be. I still pencil them in for 50+ wins and with all the changes in the West that will be a good place to be.