The national media remains unimpressed with the Portland Trail Blazers as the 2018-19 season rapidly approaches. This time, it’s Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley who shares a grim outlook for the upcoming campaign. Buckley has the Blazers among five teams he believes will fall below expectations this season, along with the Hornets , Lakers, Spurs and Raptors.
Of the direction of the franchise, he writes:
Their forward rotation underwhelms at both ends. Their most expensive big man plays a throwback style and might be unusable against the West’s best playoff lineups (Jusuf Nurkic). Their best big man might be a youngster blocked by the aforementioned expensive antique (Zach Collins). Even the Lillard-McCollum tandem could be fatally flawed, as it offers the resistance of a wet paper bag on defense.
Portland had a mostly sleepy summer. Its biggest investment came in-house via a $48 million commitment to Nurkic. Its biggest subtraction was high-energy reserve Ed Davis, whose departure is probably notable only if it rubbed Lillard and/or McCollum the wrong way. The draft-night arrivals of Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. potentially add more shooting but do nothing to correct the roster imbalance.
Maybe this has all dimmed expectations for most regarding the Blazers, but that sentiment doesn’t seem to be shared within the organization. If they aren’t looking to build off last season’s success, then why keep the Lillard-McCollum backcourt intact and sign off on a $131.6 million payroll?
Of course, different people have different expectations, and different goals for what the team can accomplish this season. What might be viewed as a disappointment by some could be viewed as progress by others, so this is all rather subjective.
What are your expectations for the Trail Blazers this season? Do you agree with Buckley’s assessment, or is he selling the team short? Let us know in the comments!