There are a couple of key differences between the Portland Trail Blazers and the just-covered Raptors, and hardly any of them provide support for Rip City’s greater chances.
The Blazers were thin last year, buttressing a elite beginning five with next to nothing off the bench. Bringing in Chris Kaman and Steve Blake doesn’t feel like a great remedy.
Of course, second-year guard C.J. McCollum should see his role increase this year, and he’s got the combo-guard abilities to make an impact. Head coach Terry Stotts seems to be leaning toward him as a first man; McCollum led all Blazers reservations in minutes per game during the preseason.
For all this, it’s hard to grasp why Portland is seen as a bigger title threat than Toronto. The Blazers’ convention is harder, their seat is still thinner and they finished the year at just 23-19 following a red-hot start. Portland is a fantastic team, but it may not be much more than that.
It is going to be up to Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and the rest of the starters to replicate that fifth-ranked offensive evaluation. If they can not do this, imagine defense and also an abysmal chair may finally hit one of last year’s biggest surprises having a painful dose of reality.
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