Portland Trail Blazers: 40-1
There are a couple of key differences between the Portland Trail Blazers and the just-covered Raptors, and hardly any of these provide support for Rip City’s better chances.
The Blazers were lean annually, buttressing a elite beginning five with next to nothing off the bench. Bringing in Chris Kaman and Steve Blake doesn’t feel as a remedy that is great.
Of course, second-year shield C.J. McCollum should see his role increase this season, and he has the combo-guard abilities to make an effect. Head coach Terry Stotts is apparently leaning toward him as a first man; McCollum led all Blazers reservations in minutes per game during the preseason.
For all that, it’s difficult to grasp why Portland is viewed as a larger name threat than Toronto. The Blazers’ conference is tougher, their seat is still thinner and they ended the year at just 23-19 following a red-hot start. Portland is a fantastic team, but it might not be much more than that.
It’ll be around Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and the remaining starters to duplicate that fifth-ranked offensive rating. If they can’t do this, suspect defense and also an abysmal bench may ultimately hit one of last year’s biggest surprises with a painful dose of truth.