The Portland Trail Blazers, like every other NBA team, have strengths that carry them through the regular season, and hopefully into the games beyond. On the same measure, every team has weaknesses that must be addressed or covered up if a team wants to keep going.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report cited each championship contender’s biggest weakness, with Portland’s being “Offensive Firepower”:
This feels like a stupid question for a team touting Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, two of the NBA’s premier tough-shot makers. But Portland’s offensive distribution raises some red flags when looking at best-of-seven sets with Golden State or Houston.
Favale cites the Blazers’ poor transition offense as one factor (the Blazers are ranked 29th in fast break points).
Portland is at risk of being thrown off by Golden State or Houston if the two were to meet in the second round, according to Favale:
Both the Warriors and Rockets would invariably force the Blazers to deviate from their wheelhouse. They’re built to play an array of styles, but they’re also experts at dictating terms. So even if the Blazers effectively combat their offensive genre, it could come at the expense of their defense—just like it has through six meetings with Houston and Golden State during the regular season.
Portland’s defense, improved this year, has scratched and clawed with the West’s top two teams this year.
Golden State averages 114 points per game, best in the league; Houston is second at 113.6 points per game. During three meetings with Golden State this season, Portland held them to 112.3 points per game, going 2-1 in the season series. But in three meetings with Houston, the Rockets have scored 120 points per contest, with Portland losing the season series 3-0.
Portland has shown flashes of keeping up with the Warriors and Rockets so far, offensively and defensively, but the playoffs are a different game.
You can read the rest of Favale’s piece here.