The Trail Blazers’ early exit from the 2021 NBA Playoffs set off a sequence changes that featured a re-tooling for their bench, a new head coach, and a flurry of speculation tied to Damian Lillard’s happiness with the organization. In the aftermath of those changes, Lillard took to Instagram earlier this month to declare that he is “back for more” with the Blazers.
Regardless of Lillard’s late-summer comments, ESPN’s panel of NBA experts predicted that the Blazers are still favorites to encounter drama in the 2021-22 season. On the subject of team turmoil, the Blazers received 10 percent of the first-place votes from ESPN’s panel. That share placed them at six on the list.
Unsurprisingly, the Sixers topped the list of teams that are likely to encounter drama this year. The saga surrounding Ben Simmons has captured headlines for the past several weeks. ESPN’s panel also weighed in on where they believe Simmons will start the season. According to the panel, Simmons is still a favorite to start the year with the Sixers. However, the Blazers finished in a two-way tie with the Timberwolves for second place on that list.
You can read the complete results from ESPN’s panel at ESPN+ (subscription required).