It was obvious that the Portland Trailblazers were weak in several areas during the 2012-2013 season. The Blazers gave up more points than they scored, lacked bench contributors, and struggled in the paint. Many factors kept the red and black below .500. During the off-season, the Blazers plugged enough of the holes to make a solid run at the playoffs in 2014.
Last season, the Blazers’ starters averaged a respectable 81.9 points per game. The total points per game for the team was 97.2. This means that only 15.3 points per game were coming from the entire bench. That’s an average of 2.19 points per bench player. Sometimes, stats are misleading, but never when they are that bad. Luckily, we have added bench scoring in rookie C.J. McCollum, Mo Williams, and Dorrell Wright. If he’s not the next rookie of the year, McCollum will certainly be a solid bench scorer, as will Wright, and Williams
Defensively, the Blazers struggled last season. They were lacking in steals and blocks. Whether or not the Blazers have added steals on defense remains a mystery, but the Blazers have added a shot blocker in Robin Lopez. Our new center, twin brother of Brooklyn Net Brook Lopez, has cool hair and beneath-the-basket defense, high free-throw and field-goal percentages, with a large 7-foot frame. Other than Oden, Aldridge has never played alongside a talented big man during his tenure with the Blazers. With Lopez playing the Robin to Aldridge’s Batman, Portland should be tough in the paint.
Portland lacked quickness, and post defense last season, and they acquired both. Damian Lillard won the Rookie of the Year and he’s only improving. With Aldridge, Batum, and a solid supporting cast, there is a good chance that the Trailblazers will be in the postseason next April.
Basketball stats source: www.basketball-reference.com