NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
9 of 10
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #2: Portland Trail Blazers

When a team misses out on the playoffs with an all-nba level talent, the blame is pointed in a few directions. First come injuries, which the Blazers suffered through but no more than any other team. Second comes the star himself, but that argument doesn’t hold up, as Lillard had arguably his most dominant offensive season ever this year at age 32.

Instead, the blame rests squarely at the feet of the coaching staff and the defensive limitations of every player on the roster. Again in Chauncey Billups’ tenure as head coach in Portland, the Blazers can’t field a competent defense, getting sliced apart by good shooting, driving, and cutting from every spot on the floor.

That’s a shame for such a fun squad playing offense themselves, as Lillard turned in a face-meltingly good season at lead guard. He wasn’t alone, as Anfernee Simons established himself as a good NBA scorer, the team acquired a handful of young forwards who can make a difference, and Shaedon Sharpe emerged as their best young asset:

With some of the best lottery odds in the NBA, the Blazers are in line to nab a front court stud prospect who could be a difference maker in their rookie year. With a further season of development for Sharpe and Simons, alongside a reshuffling of role players, Portland could quickly reassert their status as a playoff team in 2024 behind their superstar Damian Lillard.