Next Tuesday the Portland Trail Blazers will head into the 2016-17 NBA regular season, facing the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of 82. CSNNW’s Jason Quick tweeted that Coach Terry Stotts has chosen his starting lineup for opening night:
Terry Stotts confirms Blazers opening night lineup will be Lillard, McCollum, Harkless, Aminu and Plumlee.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) October 22, 2016
This decision represents a return to familiar ground, as Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu finished last season as starting forwards. The Blazers have telegraphed their intention to play Aminu at power forward since the summer hiatus began. Harkless starting at small forward means newly-acquired Evan Turner and old favorite Allen Crabbe will come off the bench at the beginning of the year.
A quick look at 82games.com shows that the lineup of Aminu, Harkless, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Mason Plumlee posted the best plus-minus rating of any Portland quintet and generated the best Effective Field Goal Percentage of any regularly-used five-man unit.
It’s worth noting that our own Eric Griffith predicted this outcome at the outset of the pre-season.