There are a couple of important differences between the Portland Trail Blazers and the just-covered Raptors, and very few of these offer aid for Rip City’s greater chances.
The Blazers were thin annually, buttressing an elite starting five with next to nothing off the seat. Bringing in Chris Kaman and Steve Blake does not feel like a remedy that is great.
Of course, second-year shield C.J. McCollum should see his role increase this year, and he’s got the combo-guard skills to produce an impact. Head coach Terry Stotts is apparently leaning toward him as a first man; McCollum led all Blazers reservations in minutes per game during the preseason.
For all that, it’s hard to grasp why Portland is seen as a bigger name hazard than Toronto. The Blazers’ convention is harder, their seat is still thinner and they ended the year at just 23-19 following a start. Portland is a good team, but it may not be much more than that.
It’ll be around Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and the remaining starters to duplicate that fifth-ranked offensive evaluation. If they can not do this, suspect defense and an underwhelming bench may ultimately hit among last year’s biggest surprises having a painful dose of reality.
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