NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers’ blogger Jason Hartzog gives five tips to the Portland Trail Blazers that, if followed, will lead them to the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Aside from building off of the success of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland needs to find a more defensive minded center, draft the best available player, and add some depth to their roster that they don’t currently have.
NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers’ blogger Jason Hartzog details how Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are the building blocks of Portland’s future. Portland needs to give Lillard and Aldridge players who will compliment their styles. Should they choose to do so, they will see success in the near future. One thing Jason liked, was the move to try and get Roy Hibbert last off-season. That could have pushed them to the playoffs this season.
Bryant Knox recaps the 2012-13 NBA season with grades for every Portland Trail Blazers player. LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, JJ Hickson, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum all played well in the starting lineup. Meyers Leonard and Eric Maynor showed signs of potential off the bench, while the rest of the reserves struggled more than they succeeded.
Jason Hartzog grades the job that Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did during the 2012-13 NBA season. Rip City gave Stotts his third attempt at being a head coach, and he did well considering the roster he was handed. Placing Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge was a recipe for success from the beginning, but allowing Nicolas Batum to become an integral part of the offense is what pushed him toward All-Star levels.
Bryant Knox breaks down three spots where the Portland Trail Blazers need an upgrade. With JJ Hickson’s future up in the air, starting center is the obvious one. Eric Maynor’s future is also questionable in Rip City, so backup point guard is a priority as well. Wesley Matthews has become a very good player, but neither he nor Will Barton are great enough to hold down the 2-guard spot by themselves.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 17 matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Damian Lillard versus Stephen Curry is a fun match-up to watch. These two guys can fill it up on any given night. They have had some great games against each other already. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews have all missed the past few games. Jason is hoping the all come back soon.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 14 matchup against the Denver Nuggets. Jason says they key matchup he’s watching is Wilson Chandler versus Will Barton. If Barton can have a nice game and keep up with Chandler’s defensive intensity then it could open up things for Damian Lillard. Lillard will likely see a lot of double teams in this one if Lawson is limited again as he was last game.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 12 matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jason says the Thunder are still playing for the top seed in the west. They won’t let this one slip away without a fight. Can we get more Lillard please? Damian Lillard was outstanding as he scored a new career high 38 points vs. LA. The Blazers got off to a quick start, shot the ball well, and really looked in control the whole game.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers April 10 matchup against the LA Lakers. Portland took down the Lakers to start the year, but this LA team has seen a drastic change since the All-Star break. Whether Kobe Bryant is a scorer or a facilitator will play a big role in this one. Nicolas Batum, Steve Nash and Wesley Matthews are questionable, while Metta World Peace is out.
NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers Blogger breaks down Wesley Matthews’ post-game interview following the loss to the Houston Rockets on ESPN. Matthews has emerged as the vocal leader on this team. LaMarcus Aldridge has always been quiet and Damian Lillard doesn’t have the experience, leaving Matthews to encourage this team along the way. Matthews spoke candidly about this team’s effort Friday night, and he set the tone for what needs to happen down the stretch.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers April 7 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. These two teams have established a history, with the most dramatic game taking place back on Jan. 29. Portland won the game on a last-second shot. Now, Portland is officially out of the playoffs, but Wesley Matthews has urged his teammates to continue playing with pride. The key matchup will be between Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge. Nicolas Batum is out
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers April 5 matchup against the Houston Rockets. The Blazers will be back on national T.V. (ESPN) for the second time in just over a week. Last time didn’t go so well against the Brooklyn Nets, and the team will look to restore its image with a young, energetic roster. The key matchup is going to be at the shooting guard spot. James Harden and Wesley Matthews will have the potential to score a lot of points in a up-tempo system.