After finishing as the three seed in the Western Conference each of the past two seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers are now watching this season’s playoff picture develop from the postseason bubble.
However, it can be argued that the Blazers have as much talent as anyone in the West when healthy, and they are still in position to remain competitive for a playoff spot well into April, even if it is just the eight seed.
In a recent column, Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni made the argument as to why the Blazers could be the second-most fun eighth seed in the Western Conference.
The first thing Nadkarni touched on was the health of the roster, especially in the frontcourt.
First and foremost, Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic have to get healthy. Both guys won’t come back looking completely like themselves right away, but having them on the floor will improve this team dramatically.
Nadkarni also tossed around the idea of adding a player capable for playing on the wing at the deadline, especially especially in the aftermath of Rodney Hood’s torn achilles.
If the Blazers can add depth, Nadkarni lists Portland as a team that could give opponents trouble as a lower seed.
I’m not ready to give up on Portland, and more so than any other team in the eight-seed race, the Blazers would bring serious star power to the postseason.
The Blazers are currently 16-23 and are a game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in West. And from here, the schedule only gets harder as five of the Blazers’ next seven opponents are currently in playoff position.
You can find the rest of Nadkarni’s rankings of the Western Conference race at Sports Illustrated.