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How Can the Trail Blazers Improve Their Defense?

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The Blazer’s Edge Podcast examines all parts of Portland’s defense heading into the 2017-18 NBA season.

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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Your Blazers’ Edge Podcast starting lineup of Tara and Dan recap recent news and take a deep dive into the Portland Trail Blazer’s defensive outlook for this season.

With a roster much like last year’s, we attempt to set a baseline by which to measure if the team has improved:

  • What areas of the floor do they defend well?
  • In which areas do they allow the most scoring?
  • What is the key to improving defense against the pick-and-roll?
  • Is this the year continuity pays off?

We talk about how new personnel might improve defense in the paint and why CJ McCollum is the key to a defensive turnaround.

Finally we predict how the Blazers are going to start the season. Tara has them starting with a blazing-hot five-game winning streak. Where do you suppose Dan put them? Tune in to find out all this and more!

Highlights

2:07 CJ’s suspension. Is he ornery?

5:39 Who starts on opening night?

7:30 Blazers waive Anthony Morrow, Isaiah Briscoe and Archie Goodwin

9:19 Jusuf Nurkic will be a restricted free agent

13:29 Setting the baseline for defense this year

16:06 Blazers defense didn’t get better (overall) last year, it got worse

19:13 How good a defender is Jusuf Nurkic?

23:47 What the Blazers are good at on defense: corner 3s and at the rim, the two best shots in the league. Good news!

31:27 Can Zach Collins play effective defense in the paint?

33:10 Al-Farouq Aminu reads the offense well and is a good weakside help defender

35:20 Caleb Swanigan has the ability to react quickly on defense in the painted area

36:58 What type of offense is this team probably best equipped to defend?

37:30 Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are effective isolation defenders

39:00 Blazers are going to do better against teams that play heavy isolation, like the Lakers who don’t yet have an identity

44:03 How will we be able to tell when the pick-and-roll has improved? Is Chris Paul getting shots off in his favorite spot?

46:03 Here’s where continuity comes in

47:19 An improved CJ will make a big difference

48:37 How will the Blazers start the season?

Resources

Traditional stats for 2015-16 and 2016-17, splits (opponent) for 2016-17 from Basketball-Reference.

Opponents shooting from stats.nba.com.

Get social

Follow us on Twitter @blazersedge @DMarang @tcbbiggs

Subscribe to the Blazer's Edge Podcast via iTunes and now Google Play.

We are part of the Almighty Baller Radio Network. Check out our podcast and all the other NBA podcasts at almightyballer.com.

Dan and Tara will be at the Blazer’s Edge Opening Night Viewing Party with Peter Sampson of Blazer’s Edge Radio at Spirit of 77. Stop by and say “Hi”!