Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season over Portland Trail Blazers. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
Portland Trail Blazers
- Market movements: Transfer by Larry Nance Jr. Renewal of Norman Powell. Signature of Ben McLemore, Cody Zeller, Tony Snell and Patrick Patterson (all movements here).
- Backcourt: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Anfernee Simons, Ben McLemore, Nassir Little, Tony Snell, C.J. Elleby, Dennis Smith Jr. y Robert Covington.
- Frontcourt: Jusuf Nurkic, Cody Zeller, Larry Nance Jr. Marquese Chriss, Greg Brown y Patrick Patterson.
This is how they face the season
extra life. This is how the Blazers’ offseason can be roughly summed up. The 2020-21 course turned out to be a compendium of physical problems, defensive inefficiency and heroics courtesy of Damian Lillard to prevent the ship from sinking and confirming a disaster that, for the moment, was a very real option.
The point guard showed once again why he is one of the best in the entire NBA at that of clutch. A quality that he was forced to express even more during those sections of the course in which he lost his main squires: we are talking about 25 games of absence by CJ McCollum and another 35 without Jusuf Nurkic.
The truth is that the offense never stopped carbureting and even increased its benefits after closing the incorporation of Norman Powell in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. at the end of March. However, everything built since the attack was demolished on the other side of the court. Indeed, the 115.8 points received for every 100 possessions is the third worst defensive record in NBA history after the Sacramento Kings (116.5) and the 2019 Cavaliers (116.8). We are talking about a very unique campaign in which defensive data returned figures anomalous but the shortcomings of the Blazers in that area were a fact.
Thus, it is not surprising that Lillard himself put the organization in check through numerous rumors that suggested his imminent departure. The elimination against the Nuggets without Jamal Murray was the clear confirmation of the need for reinforcements and this is what his franchise player demanded. Consequently, Neil Olshey acted on two fronts. First, he blamed the ills on Terry Stotts, replaced by Chauncey Billups. And, on the other hand, he tried to solve the defensive problems with the incorporation of medianías.
The new names that the roster they do not attract individual attention but it is true that they represent a notable update compared to the last year. The frontcourt shows a much more versatile and robust image with the arrivals of Larry Nance Jr. and Cody Zeller to complement Jusuf Nurkic’s inner leadership. In turn, Tony Snell and Ben McLemore will emerge as very specific pieces in their own functions of outside defense and three-point shooting. All while we wait to see the best Robert Covington back.
On paper, the squad exhibits a greater balance between attack and defense. At this point, the responsibility will fall to get the most out of a rookie on the benches like Billups. The new head coach of the Blazers has landed with apparently very clear ideas. The abuse of clearing and direct blocking will give way to a much more dynamic game with a higher rhythm that will reward the distribution of the score and the circulation of the ball. A very great contrast with that of past courses, in which Portland ranked the league’s pot in passes per game.
Based on this premise, we hope to see some Blazers in which Nurkic emerge as an important generator from both posts, McCollum and Powell incisors on both sides of the court and a Lillard who will be protected, to some degree, from being the great catalyst. offensive from years gone by. Billups has even advanced his intention to offer more minutes as a backup point guard to Anfernee Simons, a promise that, for one reason or another, has not finished hatching.
However, it will take the first weeks of the course to see first-hand the effect of Billups on the new Blazers. If his good work is confirmed, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic: there will be no shortage of points and, in defense, it will be very difficult to do worse than last season. But will it be enough to make the major Western powers uncomfortable and Lillard happy?
The player to watch
The simple thing would be to bet on Damian Lillard but we all already know what he is capable of and I prefer to escape the clichés. The debut as head coach of Chauncey Billups will be one of the main incentives of the start of the season and his intentions on the role of Jusuf Nurkic invite you to follow the team closely.
The manager has confirmed that he wants to see a more active Nurkic in creating and scoring. A challenge that the Bosnian has accepted with great enthusiasm: “I have never been so excited about Chauncey as I am now,” he told the media. The Athletic.
Without being a Joel Embiid or a Nikola Jokic, Nurkic is a bVery complete ig men capable of adding in different facets of the game. It’s just a matter of putting it in the right places and offering it greater responsibility to produce from them. If injuries respect him and Billups’ offensive plan works, Nurkic can emerge like that. Factor X Blazers differential.
NBA preview 2021-22 Portland Trail Blazers, prediction
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the season in the NBA 2021-22 preview.
Previous team analyzed: Boston Celtics. Next team: Miami Heat.
(Cover photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)