Almost a month into the season that has produced mixed results for the Blazers so far, Andrew Cutler of BBallBreakDown.com offers his analysis on the young squad, particularly breaking down Portland's offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses.
Cutler points to the high-scoring back court duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as having a positive and negative impact on both ends of the court, as the pair leads an offense that ranks in the league's top ten while the Blazers' defense is in the NBA's bottom ten.
These issues aside, many of the concerns stem from the defensively challenged backcourt. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are small, screenable, and athletically limited, making it difficult for Stotts to play the matchup game that he was able to in previous years. There's only so many players that you can hide, and without Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, the freedom to cross-match is gone.
Although the Lillard-McCollum pairing has been problematic defensively, that same pair has kept the Trail Blazers afloat on offense. When they share the court, Portland scores about 1.09 points per possession, per NBAwowy. The pair carries a huge load, with both Lillard and McCollum inside the top-20 in pick-and-rolls received per game.
Cutler continues to analyze many of the Blazers' offseason acquisitions, including how Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu have fit so far in head coach Terry Stotts' system. The article touches on the rest of the roster and concludes that fans should continue to expect tinkering with playing time and personnel going forward.
Read Cutler's entire analysis here.
The Blazers play their 16th game of the season tonight against the Chicago Bulls at the Moda Center. Tip off is set for 7:00 p.m. PST and the game will be shown on CSNNW.