October 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12), shooting guard Andre Iguodala (9), and point guard Stephen Curry (30) look on during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 90-74. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trail Blazers or Warriors: Who is better if healthy?


Last night, ESPN insider Tom Haberstroh raised an interesting question: Are the Golden State Warriors better than the Portland Trail Blazers—if healthy? It’s a fair question to ask and a fair question to answer. His answer was yes. I cannot honestly say with 100% confidence that he is wrong, as the Warriors are an impressive ball club and the question is, by nature, unanswerable from an empirical standpoint. I can, however, raise some rebuttals for the sake of discussion.


1) The “if healthy” card is applicable to the Trail Blazers as well. It’s easy to forget that the highest college scorer of the 2013 NBA draft class has been waiting on Portland’s sidelines from day one. CJ McCollum is most definitely a wild card. He has not yet played for the Trail Blazers (though his debut appears imminent), so we cannot yet quantify a “healthy” Portland team.

2) The Warriors aren’t exactly in the same injury boat as the Lakers or the Bulls. Haberstroh focused on the availability of Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and Andrew Bogut. Curry has missed just three games, and Bogut only one. While Iguodala did miss 12 games, he was only absent for 7 of the Warriors 13 losses. Saying that the Warriors are 15-3 with all three of these players active is true, but it holds the Warriors entirely unaccountable for nearly half of their season thus far.

3) The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors in Oracle on November 23rd. Portland trailed substantially in the third quarter, and even lost Wesley Matthews and Mo Williams to ejection after the infamous brawl. The only Warrior to be ousted after the altercation was bench pawn Draymond Green. The absence of Iguodala that day was more than balanced by the loss of Williams and Matthews, yet the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors on their own turf 113-101.


I’m not going to say that “if healthy” Portland is the better team, because we have no way of knowing at this juncture. The Trail Blazers and Warriors have faced different adversities and cannot be compared in such a broad, hypothetical capacity. Haberstroh knows this as well as you or I do, so the speculation is welcome. Feel free to read the portion of his piece that is publicly available and offer your own opinion and reasoning on the matter in the comment section below. Who do you think is the better team if healthy?


Who is the better team if healthy?

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Tags: Andre Iguodala Cj Mccollum ESPN Fan Poll Portland Trail Blazers

  • blazerfan808

    the two funnest teams in the league to watch. i say the blazers are better for 3 reasons,

    1. stotts and co > mark jackson (i think stotts rotations are smarter)
    2. the blazers as a team are greater than the sum of their parts. i cannot say the same for the warriors.
    3. intangibles, moxie

    on paper the warriors definitely look sexier, they are loaded with talent and natural skill, but they don’t use it to their advantage. the blazers are better at closing ball games atm. the warriors cover up their bad possessions with a barrage of rhythm shooting in the 2nd half. thats how good they could be. i’m also totally bias, and i am sure anyone who is not a blazer fan would disagree, but i feel like the blazers are destined for some Cinderella action this year.

    how’s wes this year? i was leaning toward trading him this summer, but he has been our best player on many nights carrying the team offensively, defensively, and emotionally. a lot less smiling this year. he’s locked in. that is gonna be huge in the playoffs.

    • Draftdog

      Ya know, I used to think of Wes as comparable to a VW bug. Not great styling and not a great performer but very steady and ready for the long haul. This year he has transformed himself into Volkswagon Golf. He is now looking pretty good and out performing many of his more expensive contemporaries. Other comparisons below:
      Lillard=Porsche Boxster…Fast, slick with a lot of style and production.
      Batum=Buick Lasabre…Good performance but always looks like it could do more.
      Lopez=Ford F150 V8….Serviceable, dependable and hard working.
      Aldridge=Dodge Charger R/T HEMI….Sleek, fast, powerful and huge production.
      Williams=1978 Chevy Pickup….Looked good but always sub-par performance and now a lot of miles.
      Freeland=Ford F150 6….Like the V8 only not as much horsepower.
      Leonard=Ford Concept Truck….Looks good on the showroom floor but may never be produced.
      Robinson=Corvette…With Elmer Fudd at the wheel.

  • Draftdog

    If I were asking this question, I would phrase it a little differently. If healthy, who would go further in the playoffs? Putting my Blazer Bias aside, defense wins in the playoffs.