The NBA season will be underway in less than a month with Training Camp starting at the end of September. The Portland Trail Blazers have made improvements and will be looking to improve on their successful playoff run in 2015. There are many questions that will surround the Blazers all season but with the start of camp approaching, let’s dive into what the Blazers must make clear before their season opener.
Is Damian Lillard Among The Elite Point Guards
He guided a team with a roster full of player’s no one wanted and led them to a second round matchup with Curry and the Warriors where Lillard made the world take notice just how serious he was. He averaged 32 points and 8 assists against the defending champs while LEADING the Blazers. There is not another 20 point scorer on the Blazers, they play team ball, but when crunch time hits, they look to him for answers, not a straw draw contest between three other All-Star players. But please answer me this. How can a player that averages 25 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds not make the All-Star game?
Will They Be Able To Rely On Their Bench
The Blazer have an advantage over the rest of the teams second unit due to their versatility. Where most teams lack either a scorer, facilitator or defender the Blazers have them all. It’s not showing favoritism towards them but facts are facts at the end of the day. Is Ed Davis not worthy of a starting position due to his ability to score, defend and rebound? The Nets proved that Crabbe was worth a $70M contract as he was about to be the main offensive weapon in Brooklyn. Harkless is 22, still learning but give him an additional 5-8 minute on the floor and he will easily hit double-digits in scoring this season. As for Leonard, he brings a different skill set to the table than most big men. He is a true stretch 4 that can hit the perimeter shot, play defense and rebound. It’s not one thing these guys do great, they do everything good. You have your scorers, your rebounders, and your defenders all in one unit.
Who Will Be The X-Factor
If Evan Turner can improve on his perimeter game, 15 points per is not out of the question. Unlike most wing players he avoids the three-pointer and relies on his penetration and slashing skills to get his buckets. He still handles the ball like a PG and is willing to pass up a shot to get his teammates a better one. Turner is the definition of a team player in an era where that gets frowned upon. Turner is the player you want to go to war with, with the game on the line.