While you were off celebrating the Blazers' two-point win against the Nuggets reader Phillippe dropped a note into the inbox with the following question: What will be the best strength of the Blazers this year? Roy? Depth? What will they rely on?
It's a good question and one I'll throw open to you as we begin our last pre-season week. But for my money the answer is clearly rebounding. There are flashier aspects to the game but dominating the boards gives you a chance in most games no matter how you're playing. It won't make up for horrendous defense (as that takes away rebounding opportunities) but it can sure save your bacon on nights the offense isn't clicking. We marvel at forced turnovers and blocked shots but missed shots occur on an exponentially more frequent basis. If you want to control the ball and the game you need to grab more of those misses than the other guy. More rebounds equals more opportunities. More opportunities equals a better chance of winning, especially for a possession-oriented team like Portland.
The view is not without precedent in our own history. All of the high-level Blazer teams that you remember fondly were also good rebounding teams. Walton and Lucas did it in the 70's, Duck and Buck and Jerome in the early 90's, Grant and Sabonis in the late 90's. That two-decade long playoff streak also featured consistent rebounding. It was a Blazer hallmark up until the moment everything fell apart.
We've already seen a Rebounding Renaissance of sorts and signs point to it continuing. Despite a small itchy spot at power forward the Blazers are now stocked with good rebounders up and down the rotation. This should be their bread and butter and one of the keys to their success.
What's your call on this matter? Point out to us the definitive strength that will mark this team's season and lead to oodles of wins. The comment section is open.