Portland TrailBlazers 2017-18 Season Preview

Has Portland reached their ceiling?

When Damion Lillard is on fire, he an unstoppable force. Along with his sharp quickness, he matched it with a deadly shooting stroke. He can drop 50 on any given night and that alone causes nightmares for opposing teams. But Lillard is statistically one of the worst defenders in the league. Guards lick their chops when they see Lillard on the other end of the floor because they know he doesn’t put much effort on defense. The same can be said for backcourt mate C.J McCollum.

The reigning Most Improved Player of the Year needed to step up last year when Lillard missed time with an injury. Many questioned if McCollum could be a number one option and he put the doubters to rest quickly. His smooth shoot along with smart ball handling gives Portland a lethal one, two punch. And just like Lillard, McCoullm is a liability on the defensive side of the ball. He can drop 46 on you (just ask Golden State) while giving up crucial points on defense. Unless both Lillard and McCollum can improve on stopping anyone from scoring, there is only so far Portland can go.

PHOTO CREDIT: Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports

And outside of McCollum and Lillard, Portland does not have much scoring. Sending off Allen Crabbe, their best three point shooter last season, to Brooklyn insures that Anthony Morrow will see important minutes out of necessity. Drafting big men Zach Collins (very questionable seeing as who still available matched with Portlands’ needs) and Caleb Swanigan should help their back court, but seeing as both are rookies that need refining, they will need time to grow. And Evan Turner being Evan Turner, he can only do so much on both ends of the ball to help this team beat top-tier opponents.

Because of cap space, Portland has little to no wiggle room to sign quailty players. And looking at the players they do have, none of them outside of their two star guards draw a lot of attraction on the market.

Portland is stuck with the players they have. And what they have might be able to get the to the playoffs, but not much further if they get there.

Regular Season Prediction: 47-35

PHOTO CREDIT: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America

Written by 

Jalen Hunter is an NBA writer for My Mind on Sports.

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