Potential outcomes for Portland Trail Blazers: Swim
Finally, the Blazers have a chance not to meet but exceed expectations. Yes, the team is shorthanded at the moment, but this season is frankly a bit odd. The Knicks, Cavaliers, Suns, and Spurs are all currently playoff teams, while teams like the Mavericks, Nuggets, and Heat are on the outside looking in.
While some of that is likely to change, some of it is just the reality that is the 2021 NBA season. For instance, the Cleveland Cavaliers just beat a Brooklyn Nets team that now includes James Harden.
To quote Kevin Garnett, “Anything is possible”, that’s especially true during this quirky season. The Blazers could take advantage of the slow start from other teams while correcting their own issues.
First and foremost, the play of Robert Covington and Rodney Hood needs to improve right away. Both have struggled mightily offensively and defensively. The two were intended to be key parts of the Blazers’ season so far and just haven’t looked like themselves.
If they can get back to the level of play they’ve seen in the past, the team could instantly make enormous strides. The defense has been the Blazers’ primary weakness this season. If Covington and Hood can turn their seasons around, the Blazers’ will be better positioned not only now but also for the playoffs.
Then there’s the possibility that this roster is not yet complete. Between now and the end of the season, There can be many improvements made to the roster. The trade deadline is two months away, and there will be options in free-agency, whether now or during buyout season.
This is all without the eventuality that McCollum and Nurkić will be back at some point during the season. Likely before the trade deadline as well, allowing the team an opportunity to evaluate honestly.
With their three stars back together and whomever else this team can add, the Blazers have a chance to finish as a top-four seed in the West. Both LA teams will utilize plenty of load management while the Jazz and Suns are very unproven.
Any of these outcomes are on the table, that’s the nature of this unusual season. That uncertainty could be unsettling to some, but the Blazers have the leaders in place to guide them through. The road ahead isn’t easy, but the team can rely on Damian Lillard and Head Coach Terry Stotts to lead them through.
Whether they sink, tread, or swim, they will do it together, and in this crazy season, the Portland Trail Blazers will be interesting, to say the least.