NBA.com has given the Portland Trail Blazers a B- for their midseason grade.
Defense: D, They rank in the bottom five in field-goal percentage defense, but are pretty stingy limiting the 3-pointer, which means teams are scoring too easily inside the arc. West teams allowing similar point totals possess more potent offenses.
Coaching: B+, A couple weeks ago, Stotts was flirting with an 'A.' Portland won at New York and Memphis and rising in the West playoff mix. The bottom has fallen out, but Stotts has implemented his system and has the Blazers pointed in the right direction.
Overall: B- The Blazers were the toast of the town when they were sitting at 20-15 and defying all odds of challenging for a playoff spot. They since fell on harder times, but it can't dampen the optimism generated by a team that started the season with a new general manager, new coach and eight new players, five being rookies.
Portland has found its point guard for years to come in Lillard, and surrounded by Aldridge, Batum, Matthews and Hickson, the Blazers have a salty starting five that averages 83.3 ppg, 32.2 rpg and 17.1 apg. However, those five also average more than 36.0 mpg with Aldridge, Lillard and Batum all over 38.0 mpg., which doesn't bode particularly well for the second half of the season. It will be up to the front office to deliver reinforcements in the offseason to keep the Blazers on the move up. -- Jeff Caplan
- More midseason grades here from Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune.
- Player-by-player midseason thoughts from Mike Acker of Rip City Project right here.
- Midseason thoughts here from Sean Highkin of Portland Roundball Society.
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com gave the Blazers a "B" overall here.
That should just about do it for grades until the end of the year.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter