The Trail Blazers shocked the world last year. Losing 4 out of 5 of your starters would typically cripple a team to their knees, that wasn’t the case for Portland though. Behind the play of star guard Damian Lillard and reigning Most Improved Player of the Year C.J. McCollum, the Trail Blazers were able to make it all they way to the second round of the playoffs. But where will they go from here?
Fact of the day: Guess who was third in 3-point shooting last year. You guessed it, Damian Lillard. Being one of the top point guards in the league, a lot will be expected of Lillard this season. Dame averaged 25 points per game last season along with seven assists, expect this season to be much of the same (if not more).
McCollum is one of the biggest surprises of the NBA. His upside was always high (good shot and a high IQ), however nobody thought he was tap into it so early in his career, three years in. He bloomed into one of the top offensive two-guards in the league and Portland will need another big season from him.
Adding Even Turner this offseason was both great and not so great. Turner received a whooping 4-year, $70 million dollar contract. Adding Turner to the team brings a level of defense that could help the team greatly. Portland would be best if they allowed Turner to come off the bench and run the second squad. However, 70 million is starter money. The hope is that with Lillard, McCollum, and Turner on the floor together, that Evan can be the distributor with the other two playing off ball. Kind of like when Shaun Livingston is on the floor with both Curry and Thompson, allowing the two snipers from beyond the arc to play off ball while Turner in this case would be the primary ball handler.
There were very low expectations for Portland last year, but now that success if expected from them, this season will really show what they are made of.