The Portland Trail Blazers should keep their sights set on another playoff run even with the recent injury news involving Rodney Hood.
The injury history continues for the Trail Blazers as a Rodney Hood rebound led to a torn left achilles and an early ended season for Hood. What makes this loss so vital for Portland is the fact that hood had been playing at such a high level. He was as efficient as anybody in the league and was reaching his peak, but he’s going to be absent for a while.
With that being said, I don’t believe it’s time to throw in the towel in Portland. It’s been years since Rip City has sent a representative to the draft lottery and they shouldn’t plan on it this year. The Trail Blazers always find a way to be competing in early May and expect Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to figure this out.
As of now the Trail Blazers sit just two games out of the playoffs and when it comes down to it, it may not be the Blazers talent that propels them into the playoffs, but the fact that the teams currently ahead of them are unproven and lack the crucial experience to get them over the hump.
The Suns are currently the seventh seed out west, and the Timberwolves are eighth. Two teams that lack consistency and have no maturity when speaking on the playoffs.
Devin Booker has been phenomenal all year, but the team’s success hasn’t followed. Their hot start didn’t last long and I don’t believe the talent is there to keep them in place. When a must-win scenario approaches the Suns, they just aren’t a team I expect to rise to the occasion. In my opinion, their best shot at staying in the hunt comes with Deandre Ayton coming back in mid-season form post-suspension.
Along with Timberwolves, they are led by one superstar in Karl-Anthony Towns. Don’t get me wrong, Towns has played at an all NBA level, but do the players around him bring enough to the table to get this team into the playoffs? Andrew Wiggins has revived his career, yet he still lacks efficiency. He shines one night and looks lost the next. The main issue with the team is that the third option is Jeff Teague. They have no depth which is crucial for a playoff push.
Although the Trail Blazers are down three crucial members of the rotation the potential is still there for Portland. If the Blazers can stay in the hunt and be in the mix when Nurkic and Collins return they could be a special team come April. It helps that this type of year is happening for the Trail Blazers when the Western conference has the least depth it’s had in a while.
I have full trust in Dame and CJ to keep this team afloat despite all the disappointing injuries. It’s been a theme in Portland. The doubters always speak up around these times, and the Trail Blazers always keep them quiet.