Herbert noted that Portland made a significant effort to improve the team instead of just sitting back, and through moves like adding Robert Covington and deepening their bench they’ve set themselves up nicely to try and secure home-court in the playoffs.
It cost Portland a first-round pick to upgrade from a 35-year-old 3-and-D guy to a 29-year-old 3-and-D guy, an absolute bargain because the younger one is precisely what it needed: a high-level team defender, high-volume 3-point shooter and, as he showed in his last stint, a legitimate shot blocker.
This is a team that could have done nothing and improved simply by virtue of avoiding devastating injuries. It has positioned itself to compete for home-court advantage in the playoffs, though, because it is so much deeper and more balanced than it has been in recent seasons, including the one in which it went to the conference finals.
If you want to read where Herbert ranked the other teams, click here.