33-49, 4th in Northwest Division, 11th in Western Conference
97.5 PPG/100.7 OPP PPG
LaMarcus Aldridge – PF
Will Barton – SG
Nicolas Batum – SF
Victor Claver – SG
Allen Crabbe – SG
Joel Freeland – SF
Meyers Leonard – C
Damian Lillard – PG
Robin Lopez – C
Wesley Matthews – SF/SG
C.J. McCollum – PG/SG
Thomas Robinson – PF
Earl Watson – PG
Mo Williams – PG
Dorell Wright – SF
Allen Crabbe (Draft), Robin Lopez (Trade), C.J. McCollum (Draft), Thomas Robinson (Trade), Earl Watson (FA), Mo Williams (FA), Dorell Wright (FA)
PG – Damian Lillard
SG – Wesley Matthews
SF – Nicolas Batum
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge
C - Robin Lopez
The Portland Trail Blazers 2012-13 season may have ended on a 13-game losing streak, but the Trail Blazers were playing well from the beginning of the season until Jan 11. Portland entered their matchup against the Golden State Warriors with a 20-15 record and were riding a four-game win streak.
Damian Lillard had all but locked up the Rookie of the Year award with his spectacular play and Trail Blazers fans had realistic hopes for a postseason appearance. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers Jan. 11 represented the peak of the 2012-13 campaign. Portland lost to the Warriors on Jan. 11 and went 13-33 for the rest of the year.
The Trail Blazers Achilles heel in 2012-13 was their bench. Portland addressed their bench with a series of moves in the off-season. Read about the new and improved second unit in detail here. The Blazers are expecting an even better season from point guard Damian Lillard, who has the potential to develop into one of the best point guards in the NBA. LaMarcus Aldridge continues to play at a high level and he will have a deep and versatile supporting cast around him.
The Trail Blazers have improved their team but will find the Western Conference even more difficult to compete in during the upcoming season. The only team not expected to make a return trip to the postseason in the Western Conference is the Los Angeles Lakers. This is based on Dwight Howard leaving and Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury. If Kobe Bryant does return to play at a high level, the Lakers will remain a threat. Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant will ensure they remain competitive if they are able to share the court for the majority of the season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks both missed the playoffs last season but they were both without their best player for an large portion of the 2012-13 season. The Timberwolves and Mavericks have both improved their teams as well during the off-season.
How fast the 2013-14 Trail Blazers mesh and come together as a team will go a long way in determining their playoff fate. The race for the No. 7 and No. 8 seed could come down to the last few games of the season. Last year the Trail Blazers were out of it by the last week of the season but expectations are higher this year in Portland and they should be.
Damian Lillard continues to improve and develop as a player. Lillard was an impact player as a rookie and he could develop into a star if he continues to refine his game. The Trail Blazers bench transforms into a formidable group. Portland’s front office worked hard to improve their second unit this off-season. The Trail Blazers find they have the talent and depth to contend for the No. 7 or No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Trail Blazers bench fails to mesh and continues to be a weakness. Damian Lillard fails to build on his rookie campaign and rookie C.J. McCollum fails to live up to expectations. The strength of the Western Conference once again proves to be too much of a challenge.
41-41, 3rd in Northwest Division, 9th in Western Conference