Our ongoing run of predictions continues as the Blazer's Edge staff forecasts the length of the Blazers' 2015 playoff run. Let it be known that this is the first time in years we can safely ask this question in a season preview, as everybody assumes the Blazers will make the post-season with no problem this year. Progress!
How long will Portland's playoff run last?
Timmay! | @BedgeTimmay
I did some research for an upcoming article: in the past 10 years, no Western Conference team has made consecutive appearances in the second round without making an appearance in the Conference Finals. Consecutive second round appearances are HARD unless you're simply elite. If Lillard continues to grow, the bench comes alive, and injuries stay at bay, we could be elite this season. And even then, there's a chance of a first round loss. Even top seeds may need to deal with a Memphis or Golden State. So I'd be somewhat satisfied with a hard-fought first round series, even if we don't win it.
Sam Tongue | @SamTongue
Out in the first round. This isn't a knock on what the team is doing -- the fact that they've found two All-Star level players is the type of foundation to build for a championship. But beating the Spurs, Thunder, or Clippers will be tough. If Portland makes it up to the 4/5 seed like last year, they could make some noise again.
Evans Clinchy | @evansclinchy
Out in the first round. Of course, there are a million variables here, but I think the most likely scenario is the Blazers run into a formidable opponent in round one. If they don't finish in the West's top five, they're in serious trouble, as that probably means a showdown with one of the Spurs-Clips-OKC group -- but even if they crack the 4-5 series, it's scary. Can the Blazers beat Golden State with a healthy Andrew Bogut, or Memphis with a healthy Marc Gasol? Can they beat Dallas if Tyson Chandler plays like his old self? The West is just too, too good.
Scott Horlbeck | @scott_horlbeck
Brief. First round exit.
Western Conference Finals? The question mark reflects my confidence in this prediction. I think it's possible mostly because of seeding. I don't think the Blazers can beat the Spurs or Thunder at full strength yet, but if the Blazers can grab the third seed with OKC falling to fourth or fifth, they would be on the other side of the bracket. Matchups against the other Western Conference playoff teams are absolute coin flips at this point but hey, let's have a little fun.
A first-round date with the Phoenix Suns is a great matchup for the Blazers, where the talent of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard outshine anything the Suns can bring to bear. Eric Bledsoe is a fine point guard, but he is not on Lillard's level as a scorer, and only marginally better on defense. Markieff Morris is nowhere near Aldridge on the talent scale. The Blazers shred Phoenix, putting them with the Clippers in round two.
The Blazers will have a harder time here, but the youth of the Blazers and their improved bench will be able to overcome the three-headed giant of Griffin, Paul, and Jordan. Blazers take the series 4-3, sending them into a rematch with San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.
I am going out on a limb here when I say the Blazers exorcise their demons and return to the NBA Finals, four games to three. That extra year of wear and tear on Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili is the difference, and seven tight games later, the Blazers face down LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Sadly, the story ends unhappily for Portland. Cleveland takes home the title, four games to two.
Chris Lucia | @ChrisLucia_BE
Portland can make a run to the second round again if they land at No. 5 or better. If not, I don't think they could hang with the top-3 teams in the West in a seven-game series and we'd see a first-round exit.
Sagar Trika | @BlazersBySagar
Length of Playoff Run: I don't think Portland can get out of the second round of the playoffs, if the team even makes it that far. The first round of the playoffs will be difficult for the Blazers no matter who the opponent is, and if the team is to advance, the second round doesn't get any easier. If the starters play anywhere close to as many minutes per game as they did last year, I think they'll be too tired to carry the team past the second round.
We have a wide variety of opinion here. Solve it for us in the comment section. How far do you think the Blazers will go this season? Also can we have some of whatever Ryan's drinking?