Injuries and a re-tooled roster have saddled the Trail Blazers with a suboptimal 10-16 record to start the 2019-20 season. The preseason focus of chasing a title has digressed to an ever-increasing question about Portland’s potential place in the NBA Draft lottery.
Following the Blazers’ loss to the Nuggets, The Athletic’s Jason Quick spoke with Carmelo Anthony about Portland’s struggles and the path forward. The 35-year-old veteran offered a simple and measured response.
“Stay the course,” Anthony reminded. “That’s all you can do, right?”
Melo also explained that it might be too soon to judge where the injury-depleted Blazers fit inside the NBA’s hierarchy.
“It’s kind of hard to judge us,” Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s hard to judge what kind of team we are, what kind of identity we have, because there are so many moving pieces, so many injuries, so many players in and out of the rotation. I’m sure coach is trying to figure it out as well. So, you just go with the flow right now. What we have to do is stay connected, stay together and stay with what we are trying to do. I mean, we are 10-16 right now, put a couple wins together and we will be right back in it.”
To Melo’s point, the Kings and Suns are currently clinging to the final two spots in the Western Conference postseason picture with 11 wins apiece. Regardless of the tight race occurring on the playoff bubble, Tankathon’s Lottery Simulator places Portland at pick No. 10 (with a 13.9 percent chance of landing a selection inside the top four).
In regards to tanking, Quick captured McCollum’s brief response to a lottery-centered question that was posed after Thursday’s defeat.
“You crazy,” McCollum said with a disgusted chuckle as he collected the final items from his locker and left. “You have a good one.”
Following Monday’s game in Phoenix, the Blazers play four consecutive home games, all of which are against teams with sub-500 records.
You can read Quick’s full story at The Athletic (subscription required).