|2012-13 Team Ratings|
|14th Overall||21st Overall|
Stats through Jan. 22
LaMarcus Aldridge is shooting more mid-range jumpers in Terry Stotts' offense, one reason his percentage is lower than usual. Nicolas Batum has stepped up and J.J. Hickson is an unexpected double-double machine.
With ice in his veins and averaging 18.3 ppg and 6.6 apg, Damian Lillard is the runaway Rookie of the Year candidate and why Portland is still sniffing playoff contention. Wesley Matthews has shot the 3-ball well, but there's just no one else.
They rank in the bottom five in field-goal percentage defense, but are pretty stingy limiting the 3-pointer, which means teams are scoring too easily inside the arc. West teams allowing similar point totals possess more potent offenses.
What bench? The top minute man off the bench is rookie center Meyers Leonard at 16.5 mpg. He's also the top scorer off the bench at 4.8 ppg and top rebounder at 3.5 rpg. With no sixth man, forget about seventh, eighth and ninth ...
A couple weeks ago, Stotts was flirting with an 'A.' Portland won at New York and Memphis and rising in the West playoff mix. The bottom has fallen out, but Stotts has implemented his system and has the Blazers pointed in the right direction.
The Blazers were the toast of the town when they were sitting at 20-15 and defying all odds of challenging for a playoff spot. They since fell on harder times, but it can't dampen the optimism generated by a team that started the season with a new general manager, new coach and eight new players, five being rookies.
Portland has found its point guard for years to come in Lillard, and surrounded by Aldridge, Batum, Matthews and Hickson, the Blazers have a salty starting five that averages 83.3 ppg, 32.2 rpg and 17.1 apg. However, those five also average more than 36.0 mpg with Aldridge, Lillard and Batum all over 38.0 mpg., which doesn't bode particularly well for the second half of the season. It will be up to the front office to deliver reinforcements in the offseason to keep the Blazers on the move up.
-- Jeff Caplan
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C-|
|New Orleans Hornets||C-|
|New York Knicks||A-|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|