The Portland Trail Blazers remained exceptionally healthy last season despite an injury wave that plagued the other Western Conference playoff teams. Aside from Moe Harkless’ lingering knee pain and a few minor ailments to the bench unit, Portland’s medical staff has continued their impressive track record this year.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com featured the Blazers in his “One Team, One Stat” series. One stat he focused on was the team’s health and how several three- and five-man units benefit from the sheer number of minutes logged together.
The Blazers’ starting lineup -- Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jusuf Nurkic -- has played 668 minutes together.
That’s the most minutes for any five-man unit this season.
Lineup continuity begins with health. Four of the Blazers’ five starters -- Lillard (1), McCollum (1), Aminu (0) and Nurkic (1) -- have missed no more than one of the Blazers’ 64 games this season. Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic have all exhibited pretty remarkable durability in Portland.
Schuhmann also talks about Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum playing more together, which has left Evan Turner to run the second unit. The recent additions of Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood have also helped the bench unit, which struggled without Lillard or McCollum on the floor at the start of the season.
Because Turner missed most of the Blazers’ post-break trip, he’s played in just two games with Hood and Kanter. But in 52 minutes so far with Hood on the court without Lillard or McCollum, the Blazers have outscored their opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions, with much better offensive numbers (115.2 scored per 100) than in those Turner minutes.
The article includes many other hidden stats. The best one: Portland is 9-0 on Thursday’s this season (possibly 10-0 after tonight’s matchup versus Oklahoma City). Read Schuhmann’s statistical breakdown here.