The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote a piece detailing the lessons that we have learned from the first round of the 2018 NBA playoffs, including the New Orleans Pelicans trapping defense during their sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers:
Various NBA teams aggressively trapped pick-and-rolls to take the ball out of the hands of superstars in the first round of the postseason, which has been a fascinating trend to watch. The Pelicans did it against Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
NBA executives and coaches I chatted with don’t think teams will trap the pick-and-roll more frequently moving forward. The talent and versatility of second-round teams is too great.
After Portland was swept out of the playoffs, there has been increasingly vocal chatter online that the Blazers need to find a way to balance their roster in order to achieve the type of versatility mentioned above. The Blazers currently are over the salary cap with the status of free agents Shabazz Napier, Pat Connaughton, Jusuf Nurkic, and Ed Davis to be determined.