|2011-12 Team Rating|
|13th Overall||22nd Overall|
2011-12 Season Stats
The continued presence of All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward and, after some free-agent wrangling, Nicolas Batum at small forward allows lottery pick Meyers Leonard the time he needs to develop at center.
Damian Lillard, the No. 6 pick in June, will have the ball in his hands from the beginning and needs to show he can deliver the ball as well as score. Wesley Matthews is trying to take a larger leadership role.
They were 26th in shooting defense and will now start two rookies. But the new energy will definitely help, even if it comes with inexperience.
While the starting lineup of the future has come into focus, the bench is still undergoing major reconstruction. Four players with one season or less of experience could be in the rotation.
For all the attention Terry Stotts has received for his work with offenses, the real impact, at least in the beginning, will have to come in chemistry. The new roster has to mesh established players and newcomers.
The Trail Blazers definitely have a future. But they also have a past, and the ability of Aldridge, Batum and Matthews in particular to use the bad memories of 2011-12 as a lesson will be a key to moving forward. Dealing in emotion will likewise be important for Batum in dealing with the expectations of the new contract.
Having a new coach, a new general manager and likely two new starters will help underline the storyline of the new day. There will be a lot of losses, probably enough to challenge for the worst record in the conference, but at least there will be hope again.
-- Scott Howard-Cooper
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|New Jersey Nets||A|
|New Orleans Hornets||B+|
|New York Knicks||C|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B|