Earlier this afternoon, in a TrueHoop TV Rapid Fire interview, Damian Lillard made a few assertions that we the media have latched onto: He plans to be an all-star, he thinks LaMarcus could and should shoot more 3-pointers, and he expects the Blazers to win 46 games in 2013-2014.
Although that first one is intriguing as a bragging rights milestone, it doesn’t have much bearing on the Blazers’ season or its outcome. And for LaMarcus, I’d rather he back people down in the block and otherwise contribute with his textbook elbow jumper than try to reach past his comfort zone.
46 wins, though; now there’s something interesting. As Jason mentioned, that is 13 wins more than last season, and the exact number of games Portland dropped when mired by injury in their late season losing streak. That’s a pretty reasonable answer, given the fast-paced nature of the interview.
So can they do it? The bench is better (as if it could have gotten worse), the players have been working hard to make improvements, and there will be a handful of pushover teams for them to trample due to the ‘hush-hush’ Wiggins sweepstakes (it’s like fight club; if you’re involved, you don’t talk about it).
The Blazers are looking great on paper, but they are not the only team to make strides in the offseason. The Western Conference will be tougher than ever between the improving Clippers, Warriors, Rockets, Mavericks, Timberwolves, and Pelicans. Not to mention the teams that have simply remained at the top.
So I pose this question to you, Rip City; Do you think the Blazers will meet Damian’s expectations? I’m less interested in could, as the Bobcats could ride Al Jefferson to the #1 seed in the East, but rather will. Will the new and improved Portland Trail Blazers reach a record of 46-36 this season?