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Zach Lowe Hates Trail Blazers Transition Defense

The ESPN columnist has words for Portland.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With a 15-34 record, the Portland Trail Blazers aren’t making much national news this season. ESPN columnist Zach Lowe broke that trend, though, in this week’s 9 (formerly 10) Things I Like and Don’t Like About the NBA column. [subscription required] Amid the obligatory Lakers trade talk, criticism of the Golden State Warriors, and praise for Kawhi Leonard stood Point #8:

Only three teams allow more transition chances than the rebuilding Blazers, per Cleaning The Glass. There is no single glaring problem. It is just a mess of disorganization — guys crashing the glass when they shouldn’t, slow first steps back, ill-fated gambles for steals, some loitering to see if someone else might snag an offensive board. Portland ranking 27th in turnover rate isn’t helping.

Perhaps this is expected on a (mostly) young team that has had to jumble lineups due to injury. But there are ways to mitigate this — clear rules and hard accountability.

Radiating from between the lines is a fairly massive question for Portland’s coaching staff, which could be summed up as, “What the HECK is going on?”

In addition to the transition chances Lowe referenced, the Blazers allow 17.4 actual fast break points per game to their opponents, 29th out of 30 NBA teams.

Portland will face the Denver Nuggets at 5:30 PM on Sunday.