The West was packed like sardines by the end of last season, with just two games separating the 3-seed Trail Blazers from the 8-seed Timberwolves. The addition of LeBron James to the conference only makes the standings more congested heading into the 2018-19 season.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe considers Portland a borderline playoff team, stating that last season’s postseason sweep could spell disaster for what’s ahead:
It always makes me nervous when a team nears that precipice and turns back, confident it can stay the course. Once certain tensions come out in the open, it can be hard to forget they are there. Ed Davis provided veteran calm and on-court production; Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard face a tall order filling his minutes.
Still, Lowe did praise the Blazers veterans and potential starting lineup once all the parts are back to full health:
This team has strong, stabilizing leadership on and off the court. They have a long track record of success with Maurice Harkless starting alongside their two star guards, Al-Farouq Aminu and a center.
Along with Portland, the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans found themselves in the “borderline playoff” tier.
To see Lowe’s full list, head over to ESPN.
What do you think? Are the Blazers anything more than a marginal playoff spot contender? Let us know in the comments.