|2012-13 Team Rating|
|16th Overall||26th Overall|
2012-13 Season Stats
After starting undersized J.J. Hickson at center, newly acquired Robin Lopez and Meyers Leonard now provide 7-foot options to pair with All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, while Nicolas Batum keeps getting better.
Damian Lillard now has vets Mo Williams and Earl Watson to lean on. Wes Matthews should continue to feast alongside Lillard and Will Barton showed flashes. More potential with rooks C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe.
Lopez and Leonard, in his second season, should secure the paint better than the 6-9 Hickson a year ago, but there's a lot of work to be done here after finishing 29th in field-goal percentage and 26th in defensive efficiency.
Three starters placed in the top 10 in minutes last season for a reason. That should change this season thanks to an excellent job to get a serviceable bench. If Thomas Robinson pans out, it could be a good second unit.
In his first season, Terry Stotts did an excellent job with a roster that featured a rookie point guard, a 6-9 center and no bench. He changed up Aldridge's positioning to be more Dirk Nowitzki-like, first to criticism then praise.
Until ending the season on a 13-game slide due largely to injury and exhausted players, the Blazers remarkably were fighting for the final playoff spot in the West. This season comes with an extra dose of hope and will require Lillard to build on his Rookie of the Year campaign. Having better players around him should help.
This is also a critical year in terms of Aldridge's future. The career-Blazer has two years left on his contract and there have been rumblings that he'd like to move on. In his seven seasons he has not advanced beyond the first round. Just making the playoffs this season will be tough in a loaded conference. If he doesn't see real progress, those rumblings will grow louder.
-- Jeff Caplan
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|