After years of the Portland Trail Blazers’ dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum keeping them in games and propelling them to the third-seed in the NBA Western Conference Playoffs last year, it’s the Blazers’ bench mob that seems to be making waves this season. Jared Dubin of FanSided has praised the players outside of Lillard and McCollum for stepping up:
In other words, this year’s “other guys” seem like a better fit to help a Dame and CJ-led team succeed. At least, that’s what it looks like so far. The Blazers do play the Pelicans in their next game on Thursday, and it’s there that we’ll get to see if the shifts they’ve made are enough to help them overcome their clear weaknesses against teams with as much size and foot speed as New Orleans has.
Furthermore, Dubin says the Blazers can’t let a good early start be enough, they have to be engaged throughout to truly make this a different season:
Whether or not Portland actually has a shot to make this team different than the 2015-18 versions will largely depend on whether they can do so now. Early returns are good, but early returns only matter so much. If it looks like more of the same, we may finally see the Blazers have to change course by the end of this season.
You can read the rest of Dubin’s piece here.