Ian Levy of TheSportingNews has his 2015-16 Portland Trail Blazers preview up and he's wondering where the Blazers are going to find production in the wake of their roster rehash:
Basketball-Reference tracks the roster continuity of each team for each season, defining it as the percentage of minutes played by players who were also on the team the season before. The lowest roster continuity mark in Portland's 45-season history is 47 percent. For them to avoid setting a new franchise low this season, their returning players — Lillard, Allen Crabbe, Chris Kaman, C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard — would need to combine for about 9,250 minutes played. That group combined for just over 6,800 last season.
Pick your statistical category — points, rebounds, assists, field goal attempts — and the Blazers will be looking to replace about 60 percent of their production from last season.
Like many, Levy speculates that the Blazers' success won't just depend on the sum of their parts, but whether those parts can fit together into a cohesive whole:
With each player, shooting is the key. McCollum and Leonard both made better than 40 percen t of their catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season. Without Aldridge's steadying presence in the post, Portland's offense will be leaning more heavily on McCollum and Lillard running the pick-and-roll. The rest of their new bigs — Mason Plumlee, Al Farouq-Aminu and Ed Davis — are nearly useless when they step away from the basket, but each can draw defensive attention by diving to the rim after setting a screen. The more shooting that can be arrayed around that, the more the defense will be stretched and the higher their ceiling for an efficient offense climbs.
Check out the preview for more on backcourt combinations, the emergence of Meyers Leonard, and the importance of defense and transition in Portland's new attack.