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[Podcast] How will the Trail Blazers adjust without CJ McCollum

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Dave Deckard joined the Blazers Edge podcast to discuss how the Trail Blazers might cope while CJ McCollum recovers from a strained muscle in his knee.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

With Danny out sick, Dave Deckard, Managing Editor of Blazer’s Edge, joined Tara to discuss all the implications of CJ McCollum’s injury. How will the starters adjust? Who slides into his spot? Will that disrupt the bench?

What are the implications for playoff seeding? Who is their best playoff match up (hint: anyone but Golden State)?

We also talked about how Dave feels Enes Kanter fits on the team, what his defensive limitations are, and his offensive strengths.

So many questions and Dave is here to answer them all. Get well soon Danny and thanks to Dave for sitting in!

Download the episode

Highlights

1:45 Initial thoughts when CJ McCollum went down.

2:55 The durability of CJ McCollum has been remarkable the last 4 years. He takes great care of himself.

5:10 It could have been so much worse.

6:15 What did you think in the immediate aftermath and how the team reacted?

9:25 This is going to be extended practice time to get ready for playoffs. For example Jusuf Nurkic will get more run as the number two guy.

10:35 What kinds of adjustments are the Blazers going to make? Who will start for CJ McCollum?

11:00 Rodney Hood will probably start, no one is going to replace McCollum exactly, but there are different guys who can replicate pieces of his. Evan Turner will probably pick up more minutes as small forward and Seth Curry will play more shooting guard.

12:20 What will happen when defenses can zero in on Damian Lillard with no McCollum to guard?

14:55 It was so exciting to see other players not named Lillard being productive. How does everyone else adjust?

16:30 If the Blazers can find someone beside Damian Lillard to bail them out it will be a good thing. If they can’t, they will be exposed.

18:30 The team can wait a couple of weeks for McCollum to come back. They don’t need to rush him nor should they.

19:30 What will a Lillard/Hood tandem look like?

21:00 How will positions for role players like Maurice Harkless and Jake Layman change? It all comes down to guys need to make shots.

24:00 Both Lillard and McCollum can take quick shots and manufacture a quick offense. If the ball is going to be more in the hands of the centers now it might slow down, so guys like Harkless can help speed things back up.

24:50 Of all the players on the team who has the biggest opportunity to stand out? Hood or Curry probably.

26:00 How will this affect the current bench rotation?

28:20 How about Zach Collins? Will the rotation changes go all the way up to his position? He will still probably be used on an as-needed basis.

30:05 How does Dave feel about how Kanter fits with the Blazers?

32:10 How bad is Kanter’s defense? He’s not very quick, but Blazers bench players are a bit quicker than they used to be. His lapses really show when he has to move side-to-side.

34:35 because he is a bit slower, it is detrimental when he moves and switches out farther from the basket, it moves him farther away from the basket and makes it harder for him to get rebounds.

35:20 Taking a look at the upcoming schedule. MIght be advantageous to sit him through April 3, after they come back from a road trip.

38:35 How many wins might it take to get to the eights spot. Dave thinks they can get up to 50 wins, which should be good enough for seventh. Sixth could be a pretty good spot, playing either Houston or Denver. They might be able to make it to the Conference finals on that.

41:45 Should not worry about altitude in Denver

43:45 Parting words for Blazers fans for how to wait out the next few weeks? Don’t fall into eighth seed, that would be the only disaster.

45:15 Comparing McCollum’s injury to Wesley Matthews is not apt. This situation doesn’t appear to be that bad. The Blazers didn’t just give up assets to bring in Arron Aflallo to have it all evaporate.

48:00 There won’t be any problems with bumping when McCollum comes back. The most important thing is to make sure McCollum is healthy.

49:00 Closing. Geek and Greek podcast if you want more Dave Deckard.