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How Can the Trail Blazers Improve Their Defense?

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!


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?


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

Opponents shooting from

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