My expectations are lower for the Blazers based upon their play, and I don't expect them to improve any time soon. Here's the deal.
1. The run the same few, and it is a few, offensive sets. Thus they are quite predictable and easy to defend.
2. A typical set shows initial player movement, which then stops. Often the ball stops also. Many plays end up with a forced jumper with no rhythm. THE BALL DOES NOT MOVE!
3. It's not unusual for no play to develop at all.
4. I find it difficult to think of a really good team that does not have a really good point guard. The closest I can come is the Lakers with Fisher, who has generally be a little more than adequate...although he has high basketball intelligence...needless to say the 'other guard' more than makes up for his weaknesses. How can I have high expectations for a team that does not have a point guard who should be starting on a decent NBA team?
5. On defense there is no pressure on the ball. The defense allows the other team to move the ball at will, allows players to get to their spots, and many times allows players to take wide open shots. The disaster last night in Denver was just the lateste example. How many times was there no coverage on the shooter?
6. For long stretches of many games, these players do not 'leave it on the court.' They play token offense and token defense, It appears their heads are not in the game, that they are just playing basketball, just playing around, but not really focused on winning or working hard. I believe it is at least as much lack of focus and effort as talent that is responsible for many of their losses. This team lacks character...And it is absolutely unable to step it up in the last five minutes. There are stretches where they play well, and even games where they play well, but there are too many times when they bury themselves so deep they cannot dig themselves out. It almost looks masochistic, the way they stumble through a first half, make a belated run in the third, and then finally fold.
I don't know who to blame...Nate's lack of strategy, his leadership, Aldridge's lack of leadership, the players in general...it just seems that the whole operation....sucks. It looks like they have the 'talent' to be a decent play-off team, but the way they actually play - no way!