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Lowe: Blazers Headed To 2014 Draft Lottery

One national writer concludes that the Portland Trail Blazers will fall short of the 2014 playoffs.


Zach Lowe of writes that he believes the Portland Trail Blazers are a 2014 lottery team in his season preview, including the team alongside the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans in a group called "Western Conference Morass."

It's all about defense here, too, and as I've written before, I'm skeptical the Blazers can build a good one this season - even with Robin Lopez onboard, and Terry Stotts installing a more conservative pick-and-roll scheme to fit Lopez's strengths. But like the Mavs and Wolves, the Blazers should make a serious push to rank among the league's half-dozen best offenses. They've got a ton of 3-point shooting around a legit post hub in LaMarcus Aldridge, and Nicolas Batum emerged last season as a very nice secondary ball handler in Stotts's "flow" system. For a 15-game stretch after dealing for Eric Maynor, an actual NBA-level bench player, Portland sported the league's best offense, per, before spiraling into a season-ending free fall.

And they have a real bench this season! With real NBA players and everything! C.J. McCollum's broken foot dents that depth a bit, but the Blazers have some talent. Gun to my head, they're in the lottery again, but health and some randomness could take them above Denver, Minnesota, and Dallas.

Six teams -- the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors were included above Portland's tier.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter