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Will the Blazers Six-Game Road Trip Define Their Season?

Under coach Terry Stotts, the Trail Blazers have qualified for the postseason on just one occasion when their record is below .500 at the 18-game mark.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Trail Blazers 4-8 start is far from encouraging, but is it cause for legitimate panic? Injury concerns and a re-tooled roster have saddled coach Terry Stotts with a heavy workload, a set of hurdles he has overcome in the past.

With 12 games down and a six-game road trip staring him in the face, what does Stotts’ previous records tell us about the Blazers’ postseason hopes?

Before looking at the records from the past seven seasons, here is Portland’s schedule for the next six games:

  • Spurs | @ San Antonio | Saturday, Nov 16
  • Rockets | @ Houston | Monday, Nov 18
  • Pelicans* | @ New Orleans | Tuesday, Nov 19
  • Bucks | @ Milwaukee | Thursday, Nov 21
  • Cavaliers | @ Cleveland | Saturday, Nov 23
  • Bulls | @ Chicago | Monday, Nov 25

*Potential debut of Carmelo Anthony

Here is a look at the Blazers record through 18 games under coach Stotts.

Record Through 18 Games

Season Record Postseason
Season Record Postseason
2012-13 8-10 No
2013-14 15-3 Yes
2014-15 14-4 Yes
2015-16 7-11 Yes
2016-17 9-9 Yes
2017-18 10-8 Yes
2018-19 12-6 Yes

Under Stotts, the Trail Blazers have qualified for the NBA Playoffs just once after producing a record below .500 through 18 games. That sub-500 start that still produced a postseason visit came in the first year after LaMarcus Aldridge’s departure.

Roster turnover isn’t the only item from the 2015-16 season that parallels the situation the Blazers are in now. Meyers Leonard, after three years in the NBA, was finally slotted to occupy a slot in the starting lineup. An early-season shoulder injury to Leonard, on a Texas road trip, suddenly turned Portland’s power forward rotation into a revolving door. Sound familiar?

Major difference are present, of course. Mainly, the 2015-16 squad was tasked with surviving the departure of a franchise pillar. This year’s team made it clear that they had title aspirations in mind.

Portland’s 4-8 start is without a doubt concerning, but far from a complete shields up, load torpedo bay, red alert. The Blazers would have to secure five victories on their upcoming six-game road trip to reach a .500 record at the 18-game mark.