FanPost

2013-14 Portland Trailblazers Review

With the NBA Finals starting tonight, I wanted to do a wrap up piece for the 2013-14 Portland Trailblazers season.

Like the Midseason Review, it takes a look at the accomplishments of the 2013-14 Blazers, and then takes a quick view into the future.

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Damian Lillard

2013-14 NBA ranks
* 13th most assists (457 assists)
* 11th most points (1695 points)
* 8th best FT% (87.1 FT%)
* 12th most offensive win shares (7.8 OWS)
* 18th most win shares (9.6 WS)
* 18th most FG made (553 FGs)
* 3rd most 3P made (218 3pts)
* 10th most FT made (371 FTs)

Lillard is a beast; the Earth quaked at his conception.

We've seen his dominance from the start...

Nominated to his first All-star team and his first All-NBA team, along with winning a playoff series, Lillard basically hit every goal he set this past off-season.

From SlamMagazine:

"Because Lillard expects to improve in so many areas and is now completely adjusted to the NBA game, he’s anticipating a big 2013-14 season and setting some lofty goals for himself. ‘First of all, I want to make the playoffs,’ Lillard said. ‘This team probably doesn’t have the make-up of a championship team, but you still want to compete for one. We want to make the playoffs. I want to try and make the All-Star team. I want to be an All-NBA player.'"

Lillard is the only Blazer to have ever hit a buzzer-beater to win a playoff series.

There really isn't anything better than when Lillard goes on one of his "He's on Fire" steaks and scores 8-10 points in basically a minute.

He's now one of only 7 players to have been nominated to an All-NBA team, while wearing the Blazers uniform.

The Lillard/BRoy comparisons:

* Both 6th overall picks
* Both 22 year old, 4 year college players, as Rookies
* Both starting guards for the Blazers from day 1
* Both Rookies of the Year
* Both All-Stars in their Second Year
* Both face the Houston Rockets in their first playoff series in the 4/5 matchup

The Lillard/BRoy differences:

* Lillard won his first playoff series
* Lillard was voted to his first All-NBA team his second season

Lillard was the only NBA player to make 200 3pts and 350 FTs.

List of players who made 5+ 3points in at least 12 games:

Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green

Number of games of 4 made 3pts:

1) Steph Curry - 35 games
3) Damian Lillard - 24 games
3) Gerald Green - 24 games
4) Klay Thompson - 22 games
5) Randy Foye - 21 games
6) Wes Matthews - 19 games
7) Trevor Ariza - 19 games
8) Kyle Korver - 19 games

Damian Lillard is the only player in NBA history with 25+ 3-pointers and 50+ free throws in his first 10 career playoff games.

Damian Lillard's streak of nine straight games with 17+ points is the longest during a single playoffs in Trail Blazers history.

Damian Lillard is first player with 200+ points, 50+ rebounds and 50+ assists in his first 9 career playoff games since LeBron James (2006).

Damian Lillard's game-winner gives him six 3-pointers, tying a Trail Blazers playoff franchise record (Terry Porter, 5/16/92 vs. Utah).

Damian Lillard joins Paul Pierce (2002) as only NBA players with 150+ points and 20+ 3-pointers in their first six career playoff games.

Damian Lillard joins Ray Allen (1999-2000) as only players with 15+ points and 2+ 3-pointers in each of his first six career playoff games.

Damian Lillard has now made multiple 3-pointers in six straight games, the longest streak in Trail Blazers postseason history.

However, when you look at the 4 PGs that made the Western Conference Semi-Finals, where do you rank Lillard in that group? Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, and Damian Lillard?

---

LaMarcus Aldridge

2013-14 NBA ranks
* 13th most points (1603 points)
* 8th most defensive rebounds (599 def rebounds)
* 10th most rebounds (765 rebounds)
* 15th highest PER (21.8 PER)
* 6th most FG made (652 FGs)
* 3rd lowest turnover percentage (7.2%)
* 14th highest defensive rebound percentage (25.5%)
* 5th highest usage (29.8)
* 8th most points/game (23.2 pts/gm)
* 7th most rebounds/game (11.1 reb/gm)

3x Player of the Week (Nov 25th, Dec 9, and Dec 16)

The only other players who were awarded Player of the Week at least 3 times this season: Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin (yes, Lebron James only won it twice this year).

Aldridge is now one of only 4 players to have been awarded multiple All-NBA selections while wearing the Blazers uniform.

Aldridge had the 7th most defensive rebounds in franchise history, with 599 defensive rebounds.

1) Bill Walton - 723 (1976-77)
2) Mychal Thompson - 663 (1981-82)
3) Bill Walton - 648 (1977-78)
4) Sidney Wicks - 646 (1974-75)
5) Maurice Lucas - 628 (1976-77)
6) Zach Randolph - 609 (2003-04)
7) LaMarcus Aldridge - 599 (2013-14)

Aldridge had the 7th highest rebounds/game in franchise history, averaging 11.1 reb/gm.

1) Bill Walton - 14.4 reb/gm (1976-77)
2) Leroy Ellis - 12.3 reb/gm (1970-71)
3) Lloyd Neal - 11.8 reb/gm (1972-73)
4) Mychal Thompson - 11.7 reb/gm (1981-82)
5) Sidney Wicks - 11.5 reb/gm (1971-72)
6) Maurice Lucas - 11.4 reb/gm (1976-77)
7) LaMarcus Aldridge - 11.1 reb/gm (2013-14)

Blazers 40 point games in the playoffs:

1) LaMarcus Aldridge - 46 (4/20/2014)
2) Bonzi Wells - 45 (4/23/2003)
3) LaMarcus Aldridge - 43 (4/23/2014)
4) Clyde Drexler - 42 (4/29/1992)
5) Brandon Roy - 42 (4/21/2009)
6) Terry Porter - 41 (5/19/1992)
7) Mychal Thompson - 40 (4/3/1981)

LaMarcus Aldridge is the only Trail Blazer to ever score 100+ points in Portland's first three games to begin the playoffs.

LaMarcus Aldridge's 89 points in 1st 2 playoff games are fewer than only Michael Jordan (1986, 1988) and Jerry West (1965) in last 50 years.

LaMarcus Aldridge's postseason scoring (6th, 26.2) and rebounding (9th, 10.6) averages rank in the top 10 in Trail Blazers playoff history.

LaMarcus Aldridge's eight games with 20+ points are the most by a Trail Blazer in the postseason since 1992 (Drexler-17, Porter-12).

LaMarcus Aldridge is first player with 100+ field goals and 100+ rebounds in his team's 1st 10 playoff games since Shaquille O'Neal (2003).

LaMarcus Aldridge is the first Trail Blazer with four straight double-doubles in a single playoffs since Clyde Drexler (6, 1992).

LaMarcus Aldridge is the first Trail Blazer with 10+ rebounds in four straight games during a single playoffs since Buck Williams (1992).

LaMarcus Aldridge is the first Trail Blazer with five 20-point, 10-rebound games in a single playoffs since 1990 (5, Drexler and Kersey).

LaMarcus Aldridge is first player with 200+ points and 75+ rebounds in team's first seven playoff games since Shaquille O'Neal (2001).

---

Robin Lopez

2013-14 NBA ranks
*
3rd most offensive rebounds (326 off rebounds)
* 5th most blocks (139 blocks)
* Best offensive rating in the league (128.1)
* 7th highest FG% (55.1%)
* 17th most rebounds (700 rebounds)
* 14th most offensive win shares (7.0)
* 19th most win shares (9.5)
* 19th highest win shares per 48 minutes (.176)
* 8th highest true shooting percentage (60.5%)
* 4th highest offensive rebounding percentage (13.6%)
* 14th highest block percentage (3.7%)

Robin Lopez set the franchise record with 326 offensive rebounds, breaking Chris Dudley's 1994-95 record.

Robin Lopez had the 9th most blocks in franchise history:

1) Bill Walton - 211 (1976-77)
2) Sam Bowie - 203 (1984-85)
3) Mychal Thompson - 170 (1980-81)
4) Joel Pryzbilla - 163 (2004-05)
5) Cliff Robinson - 163 (1992-93)
6) Theo Ratliff - 158 (2004-05)
7) Bill Walton - 146 (1977-78)
8) Theo Ratliff - 141 (2003-04)
9) Robin Lopez - 139 (2013-14)

Robin Lopez set the franchise record for offensive rating, with a mark of 128.1 (the previous highs had been 127.0 by Terry Porter in 1990-91 and Buck Williams with 125.2 in 1991-92).

---

Nic Batum

2013-14 NBA ranks
* 16th most defensive rebounds (495 def rebounds)
* 19th highest effective FG% (55.4%)

The versatility of Batum is unbelievable at times. Since 1985-86, only 5 players in NBA history have better career highs in points, rebounds and assists.

Like last season, Nic Batum stands in elite company, as one of the few players who contributes 5 reb/gm and 5 ast/gm.

List of players who had 400 rebounds and 400 assists:

Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Nic Batum, Joakim Noah, and Michael Carter-Williams

List of players who had 400 rebounds, 400 assists, and 100 made 3pts:

Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Nic Batum

List of players who had 400 rebounds, 400 assists, and 50 blocks:

Kevin Durant, Nic Batum, and Joakim Noah

List of players who had 400 rebounds, 400 assists, and less than 225 turnovers:

Nic Batum and Joakim Noah

List of players who had 140 3pts, 50 steals, and 50 blocks:

Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Nic Batum, and Channing Frye

List of players with 400 assists, 140 3pts, 50 steals, and 20 blocks:

Kevin Durant, James Harden, Nic Batum, and Damian Lillard

---

Wes Matthews

2013-14 NBA ranks
* 5th most 3pts made (201 3PTM)
* 17th lowest turnover percentage (8.8%)
* 14th highest offensive rating (118.4)
* 17th most offensive win shares (6.3)

I posed the question at the start of the year, is Wes Matthews a top 5 SG in the league?

While I'm hesitant to call him a top 5 SG overall, I do know that he's one of the few SGs in the league that plays defense and his 3pt shooting percentage, low turnover percentage, and high offensive rating/win shares tells me that he's the perfect complement for our ball dependent PGs. To me, he's the standard for the 3 and D at the SG spot. So, for the Blazers system(where we don't want a SG to demand the ball), Wes is a top 5 SG.

Portland Trailblazers Franchise Made 3pts:

1) Damian Lillard - 218 (2013-14)
2) Wes Matthews - 201 (2013-14)
3) Damian Lillard - 185 (2012-13)
4) Damon Stoudamire - 181 (2004-05)
5) Cliff Robinson - 178 (1995-96)
6) Wes Matthews - 169 (2012-13)
7) Nic Batum - 165 (2012-13)
8) Rudy Fernandez - 159 (2008-09)
9) Damon Stoudamire - 156 (2003-04)
10) Wes Matthews - 154 (2010-11)

Wesley Matthews tied a Trail Blazers playoff record with four 3-pointers in a quarter (Porter-1994, Fernandez-2010, Matthews-2011).

---***---***---***---

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It was only the 7th time the Blazers have won 54 regular season games.

1990-91: 63-19
1989-90: 59-23
1999-00: 59-23
1977-78: 58-24
1991-92: 57-25
2008-09: 54-28
2013-14: 54-28

Of the 44 seasons, the Blazers have only won 54 games in 16% of those seasons. So, this regular season enjoyed more success than 84% of Blazers regular seasons.

---

According to Phil Jackson, and his 40-20 rule, the 'elite' teams this year were:

Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs
Indiana Pacers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
Portland Trailblazers

Those are the 4 teams that made the Conference Finals, along with the Blazers and the team we dispatched in the First Round.

I believe this is a significant achievement, that bolsters the thought that the Blazers are on the Championship path.

---

The curse was broken...

It was only the 10th time the Blazers have advanced out of the First Round of the Playoffs.

1976-77: Won NBA Finals (J Ramsay)
1991-92: Lost NBA Finals (R Adelman)
1989-90: Lost NBA Finals (R Adelman)
1999-00: Lost WC Finals (M Dunleavy)
1998-99: Lost WC Finals (M Dunleavy)
1990-91: Lost WC Finals (R Adelman)
2013-14: Lost WC Semi-Finals (T Stotts)
1984-85: Lost WC Semi-Finals (J Ramsay)
1982-83: Lost WC Semi-Finals (J Ramsay)
1977-78: Lost WC Semi-Finals (J Ramsay)

However, it was only the 9th season the Blazers have won at least one playoff series; in 1977-78, the Blazers didn't play a First Round series, but lost to the Seattle Supersonics in the WC Semi-Finals.

So, of note, Terry Stotts is just the 4th head coach to win a playoff series in Portland.

He's accomplished more than expected in his few years in Portland, but he's still a long way off from becoming the Fourth King.

---

The Blazers led the league in rebounding(3808 rebounds), and had the 3rd most offensive rebounds(1022 off rebounds).

The Blazers set a franchise record by making 81.5% of their free throws. This was just the second time the Blazers have shot over 80% from the charity stripe (2010-11, 80.4%).

The OKC Thunder were the only other franchise to shot over 80% from the free throw, 80.6%.

The Blazers made the 4th most 3pts in the league(770), shooting the 7th best rate from downtown(37.2%).

---***---***---***---

My 10 favorite posts this season (others):

1) Comparing the Blazers to teams with 15-3 records since 1979 (erastus25) - Despite only being 18 games into the 82 game season, statistically the Blazers were destined to win at least 50 games and had a strong chance of winning their first round playoff series.

2) Hawks vs Blazers: Why it was the best game I've ever seen (anitachampionship) - So awesome.

3) To LaMarcus Aldridge: My sincerest apologies (Blazin' in NE) - "MVP. MVP. MVP. MVP. MVP."

4) [Parody] Injury news: Damian Lillard Questionable tonight vs Minnesota (DannyAingefor3) - Bill Simmons: "Rip City has now thrown its hat, clothes, shoes, socks, belt and Damian Lillard’s Cassell-sized balls into the ring."

Cassellbigballsdance_medium

5) A Visual Guide to the Rosters Origins (tyeforshee) - A great update to Norsk's classic transaction chart.

6) What if the Blazers were Lord of the Rings Characters (AJB2) - "In 1977, The Trophy passed to Walton, who had this one chance to enshrine a dynasty forever, but the feet of tall men are easily corrupted. And the Trophy of O’Brian has a will of its own. It betrayed Walton, to his career’s death. And some things that should not have been forgotten in Portland were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for three and a half decades, The Trophy passed out of Blazer knowledge."

7) Reports: BEdgers Hold Site Meeting After Fourth Straight Lose (mittsabishy) - "Rumors that Hipster Olympics Team! was going to show up were quickly squashed."

8) Are the starters good enough? (wilson7117) - Defense. Defense. Defense.

9) What about them? (Dexter_CZE) - A look at what Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt are currently doing.

10) Slump masked jump in defensive ranting (grigs) - Great content.

---***---***---***---

My 10 favorite posts this season (mine):

1) The Night before the Mavericks - A short story about Paul Allen experiencing a vision.

2) A 20 Win Improvement? - A look at what we should expect in the playoffs if the Blazers were to win 54 games(which they did), and have a 20 win improvement over last season.

3) Improving the NBA - A look at ways the NBA can improve under Adam Silver.

4) Brandon Roy: Domination of the L*kers - After Lillard missed a layup at the buzzer, there were a number of BE commentators that suggested that BRoy would have made it. After writing a post, pointing out each and every game tying/winning shot that BRoy missed, I felt dirty, and wanted to write a positive BRoy piece.

5) Should the Blazers stop shooting 3 pointers when they are ice cold? - A look at each of the Blazers 3 point shooters, and how much better their points/shot on 3 point attempts vs 2 point attempts.

6) Blazer for Life - A look at the historical Blazers for Life, and then a look at the current players who potentially could be adding their names to the list.

7) Domination vs the Eastern Conference - A look at the Blazers, and the rest of the Western Conference, domination vs the Eastern Conference over the past decade.

8) To Sweep or be Swept - A look at the teams the Blazers have swept and been swept by in franchise history during regular season games.

9) Where will this regular season rank? - This piece, along with it's followup, discussed our statistics and similar teams in NBA history, and what to expect the rest of the season.

10) GetOutOfTheFirstRound Appreciation Thread - An appreciation thread signalling the end to my friend' handle, and of course in appreciation for the Blazers ending their playoff drought (The Blazersedge community liked this Appreciation thread much more than my Patrick Beverley Appreciation Thread).

---***---***---***---

When the schedule for the 2013-14 season was announced, it appeared to be broken down the season into 13 phases.

My projections were fairly accurate, predicting every phase decently (including the January stumble), with the slight exception to the November to Remember.

Predicted Actual Predicted Actual Predicted Actual
Phase 1 5-3 6-2 5-3 6-2
Phase 2 2-3 5-0 7-6 11-2
Phase 3 3-3 5-1 10-9 16-3
Phase 4 6-2 6-2 16-11 22-5 6-2 6-2
Phase 5 2-3 3-2 18-14 25-7 8-5 9-4
Phase 6 6-0 4-2 24-14 29-9 14-5 13-6
Phase 7 1-3 2-2 25-17 31-11 15-8 15-8
Phase 8 4-1 3-2 29-18 34-13 19-9 18-10
Phase 9 2-4 2-4 31-22 36-17 21-13 20-14
Phase 10 5-3 6-2 36-25 42-19 26-16 26-16
Phase 11 2-4 1-5 38-29 43-24 28-20 27-21
Phase 12 4-3 4-3 42-32 47-27 32-23 31-24
Phase 13 6-2 7-1 48-34 54-28 38-25 38-25

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However, the Blazers were 38-25 in the last 10 phases.

Yaytrrv_medium

---***---***---***---

Looking at next season:

---

On the Blazers career leaderboard, Aldridge is currently (who he can/will catch during the 2014-15 season):

* 7th most games played(577 games)

(33 gms behind Larry Steele, 50 gms behind Jim Paxson, 67 gms behind Cliff Robinson)

* 2nd most FGs made(4462 FGM)

* 5th most made FTs(1953 FTM)

(88 FTM behind Cliff Robinson, 118 behind Jerome Kersey)

* 4th most off rebounds(1559 off rebounds)

(135 off rebounds behind Buck Williams)

* 4th most def rebounds(3149 def rebounds)

(18 def rebounds behind Buck WIlliams, 29 def rebounds behind Jerome Kersey, 240 behind Mychal Thompson)

* 5th most rebounds(4708 rebounds)

(153 reb behind Buck Williams, 170 reb behind Mychal Thompson, 370 reb behind Jerome Kersey, and 631 reb behind Clyde Drexler)

* 3rd most points(10901 points)

(429 points behind Terry Porter)

* 7th most blocks(590 blocks)

(4 blks behind Drexler, 32 blks behind Kersey, 33 blks behind Przybilla)

* 4th most win shares(60.8 wins)

(0.5 win shares behind Wallace)

So, by the end of next season, Aldridge should/will have:

* Most rebounds
* Most defensive rebounds
* 2nd most points scored (Drexler)
* 2nd most FGs made (Drexler)
* 3rd most off rebounds (Drexler, Kersey)
* 3rd most win shares (Drexler, Porter)
* 4th most blocks (Thompson, Robinson, Wallace)

in franchise history.

---

Both Wes Matthews and Nic Batum have the ability to become the franchise leader in made 3pts next season.

1) Terry Porter - 773 made
2) Damon Stoudamire - 717 made
3) Wes Matthews - 653 made (120 behind Porter)
4) Nic Batum - 651 made (122 behind Porter)

Currently, Lillard is third in franchise history in FT%

1) Kiki Vandeweghe - 88.1%
2) Steve Smith - 87.1%
3) Damian Lillard - 85.9%
4) Shareef Abdul-Rahim - 85.7%
5) Rudy Fernandez - 85.5%
6) Jarrett Jack - 85.3%
7) Damon Stoudamire - 84.6%
8) Terry Porter - 84.6%
9) Derek Anderson - 84.3%
10) Wes Matthews - 83.6%

Could easily see some movement from him next season.

---

The 2014-15 Blazers:

Guaranteed to be on next years roster (2 open spots)(barring a trade):

PG: Lillard, McCollum,
SG: Wes, Barton, Crabbe
SF: Batum, Wright,
PF: Aldridge, Robinson, Claver
C: Lopez, Freeland, Leonard

The team doesn't have either draft pick, but does have the full MLE(~4yr/$21M) and the BAE(~2yr/$5M) to fill the two open spots.

After read BuckWill's post about Mo Williams contract situation, I think signing Mo Williams with his bird rights, to that ~3 yr/$10M or ~4yr/$13.5M deal seems to be a no brainer.

That leaves the last spot to be filled by the full MLE.

The (potential) free agents that I'm looking at right now are:

Spencer Hawes
Channing Frye(P)
Thabo Sefolosha
Matt Bonner
Emeka Okafor

If we were to sign Mo Williams with bird rights and then use the MLE, we would be at 15 roster spots. If we wanted to sign someone with the BAE, then we would have to cut/trade one of our players. In Dave's mailbag post today, he posed that exact question: If we need to discard one player, who do you pick? I don't know how you vote for anyone besides Victor Claver.

If we're going to be signing a BAE player, the players I'm looking at right now are:

Mike Miller
James Jones
Jodie Meeks
Shane Battier
Elton Brand
DeJuan Blair
Greg Stiemsma

I don't know if all the players on these two lists would be willing to sign in Portland for those contracts, but I think it's close enough that Olshey would broach the conversation with their agents.

I'm still very much on the Meyers Leonard bandwagon, and I can't wait for him to continue developing in a Blazers uniform.

I've previously written about Olshey' relationship with certain agents, and posed the question of if that will impact who we sign with the full MLE or BAE this offseason. As discussed, he has a great relationship with Spencer Hawes' agent.

I'm excited about the Blazers future, and I can't wait to see who Olshey and company bring in with the full MLE (and BAE?), and if they have a trade in store (a couple of these younger 'potential-esque' players for a starter quality player?).

---***---***---***---

Other notes/thoughts:

* Storyteller: Does Aldridge sign an extension this offseason?

* With Steve Ballmer purchasing the LA Clippers, the I-5 rivalry will remain buried for the coming years.

* Will Lebron decide to stay in Miami, or will he take his talents elsewhere? Sidenote: Lebron James will be passing Clyde Drexler in basically every category next season.

* The Houston Rockets took the most 3pt shots in the league, accounting for 1/3 of all of their shots. They took the least most shots from 10-3pt line, less than 12% of their shots (next lowest was Sixers with 20% of their shots). On the opposite side of the spectrum, Aldridge took 64% of his shots from 10ft-3pt line.

* The Golden State/Portland Lillard/Curry rivalry continue to develop (I also am a huge fan of the fact that both team's SGs are sons of former NBA players (former Blazer #1 pick Mychal Thompson is Klay Thompson' son)).

* Does Kevin Durant have another Kobe-esque scoring streak in store for 2014-15?

* Who does Phil Jackson hire to be head coach of the NY Knicks?

* What do the LA L*kers do this offseason? Does Pau Gasol leave? With $37M locked up on Kobe/Nash, are they once again a non-playoff team next year?

* Like the L*kers, the Nets are locked up with aging players. Can their front office manage to do anything to make them serious contenders? Paging: Josh Smith to Brooklyn. Josh Smith to Brooklyn.

* Can Danny Ainge believe he can build a contender around Rajon Rondo, or does Ainge end up trading him?

* Do the Blazers retire Arvydas Sabonis's #11 next year?

* With Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, etc. all returning for full seasons next year, where will Lillard rank in the 'best PG' discussions?

* Does the 'deepest draft' in recent history compare with the loaded legendary 2003 draft of Lebron, Wade, Melo, Bosh, David West, Josh Howard, Chris Kaman, Mo Williams, etc....?

* Geoff Petrie was fired as GM of the Sacramento Kings a little over a year ago. I'm curious to see if the First Trailblazer returns home this off-season, filling the loss of Mike Born?

* I hate Kevin Love. Full Stop. Stop the madness...

---

Lastly, we remember Jack Ramsay, who died at the age of 89.

---

Go Blazers!

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