NBA.com's John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Portland Trail Blazers, who were two different teams last season.
The Portland Trail Blazers were 11.0 points per 100 possessions better at home than on the road last season. That was the biggest home-road differential in the league.
Overall, the difference between the home Blazers and road Blazers was about equal on both ends of the floor. At the Moda Center, they were 5.6 points per 100 possessions better offensively and 5.4 points per 100 possessions better defensively.
On offense, the Blazers' bigs -- Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee, in particular -- somehow couldn't put the ball in the basket as frequently on the road as they did at home. Allen Crabbe (effective field goal percentage of 58.1 percent at home and 50.3 percent on the road) also had a big home-road discrepancy.
But the other end of the floor was more of a concern. The Blazers were 3-17 on the road against other teams that finished with winning records, allowing a brutal 114 points per 100 possessions (with their opponents shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and getting to the line more than 27 times a game) in the 20 games.
Overall, Portland saw the league's fifth biggest regression in defensive efficiency, allowing 4.2 more points per 100 possessions than they did in 2014-15. They ranked 20th on that end of the floor, struggling to force turnovers and keep their opponents off the free throw line. They were able to withstand the departures of four starters on offense, but missed a few of those guys on defense.
There are two ways to look at the Blazers' home-road discrepancy. You can say they weren't as good as their record, because they were propped up by one of the best home-court advantages in the league. You can also say that, because they were one of the league's youngest teams, they'll be better on the road with more experience.
If the latter is true, they have a shot at a top-four seed in the Western Conference this year.
10 MORE BLAZERS NOTES
- Portland's starting lineup -- Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee -- outscored opponents by 14.4 points per 100 possessions, the sixth best mark among lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.
- The Blazers scored 107.0 points per 100 possessions against the league's top 10 defenses, a rate which ranked fourth in the league.
- Ninety percent of last season's minutes were played by guys still on the roster. That's the highest percentage in the league.
- The Blazers were the most consistent team from quarter to quarter. They were the only team that didn't have a NetRtg better than plus-2.0 or worse than minus-2.0 in any quarter.
- Portland a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 0.268 (17th in the league), up from 0.225 (30th) in 2014-15. That was the biggest jump in the league.
- The Blazers posted up on just 2.9 percent of their possessions, according to Synergy. That was the lowest rate in the league.
- According to SportVU, the Blazers were one of three teams with a usage rate over 50 percent on ball screens, meaning that, on pick-and-rolls, they were more likely than not to get a shot, turnover or drawn foul from the ball-handler or screener. C.J. McCollum (41.4 percent) and Damian Lillard (38.9 percent) ranked 10th and 19th among 93 players who used at least 500 ball screens in individual usage rate (shot, turnover or drawn foul from the ball-handler).
- At 8.4 minutes per game, Lillard led the league in time of possession.
- McCollum shot 39.2 percent on pull-up 3-pointers, the second best mark (behind Stephen Curry) among players who attempted at least 100.
- In his two seasons in Brooklyn, Mason Plumlee had four assists in 163 playoff minutes (0.9 per 36). Last season, he had 53 assists in 306 playoff minutes (6.2 per 36).
NBA TV's Blazers preview premieres at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
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