I think the Blazers will surprise many people this season. I have them finishing at the 4 or 5 in the west this year. Today I want to talk about what makes the blazers so dangerous and why I think they will surprise many people.
Dame is in the middle of his prime and I believe this is his year. I think he is easily the biggest dark horse MVP candidate and will finish pretty high in MVP voting. WE all know Dame is motivated to win in Portland and this is the best team he has ever played with in terms of talent on the roster. Last season Dame played out of his mind but the blazers were dealing with injures all season and I don't want to say Dame carried them, but it was like that in a way. This season as long as they can avoid injuries, the blazers should get a high seed and I think that will heavily boost his odds of winning MVP. Of course this season isn't just about winning an MVP, but that would do wonders for his legacy. I don't think he will win the championship this year because I think the Lakers will easily repeat, but in a couple years, if the Blazers put the right roster around Dame, and Dame does what he needs to do, then it is very possible. Watch out for Damian Lillard this season is all I'm saying. He will do incredible this season and this is his year.
First off I want to start off by talking about Robert Covington. I cannot express enough how much I love this move. He is the perfect guy and the type of guy they have desperately needed for years. Covington is a 3 and D player with All NBA level defense. His defensive impact is incredible and that is the Blazers big weakness. Last season, the Blazers were 2nd in offensive rating, and 27th in defensive rating. This clearly tells us that the Blazers are incredible on offense and horrible on defense. So this is why Robert Covington is so valuable to this roster. He is a great 3 point shooter and that can compliment Dame's playmaking on the offensive side of things. The Blazers also picked up Derrick Jones Jr. I think he will be a valuable role player this season. He is an athletic lob threat who is great at getting to the rim both with and without the basketball, he can shoot a little bit, and he is a solid defender. All of this combines for another great fit for this team. I like what he brings to the team and I think he will help this team a lot more than most people think. He is looking great in the preseason so far and I can't wait to see what he can do for in the regular season. Speaking of guys who are playing really well in the preseason, we need to talk about Harry Giles. Giles is looking incredible for the Blazers so far and it's great to see. From what we can tell, he is a great energy and hustle guy who can score the ball and play good defense. Again, another guy who fits well with what the team needs. Giles came out of nowhere and I'm hoping he can be a valuable edition for this team. The Blazers also signed Enes Kanter who will really help their rebounding issue and I think that can help them a lot as well. I think the Blazers were a huge winner of the offseason and I love the moves they made.
Other important players:
I must say, I really respect Carmelo Anthony for taking a bench role to stay on this team. It's the first time in his career he is choosing to play off the bench and I respect him a lot for that. He will really help this teams second unit and I'm sure this won't affect his playing time in the clutch since the Blazers need him out there during that time. He has no issue scoring the basketball which is what he is best at, and what he can do to make his impact on this team. I loved seeing Carmelo with the Blazers in the bubble since he helped them so much and was a great piece for them. Which he will continue to do.
Another player who played great in the bubble was Gary Trent Jr. Trent was a super valuable role player in the bubble and it's looking like he is picking up right where he left off, He can do pretty much anything you ask of him the basketball court. If you need him to score he can score, if you need him to shoot and can shoot, if you need him to lock up another player, he can do that. That's what I really admire about Trent, and that's why I am super excited to see him playing for the Blazers this season.
The last player I want to talk about is CJ McCollum. I think CJ is a pretty underrated player if I'm being honest. I see some people say the Blazers should trade him but many people don't understand how valuable CJ is. The amount of offensive production he brings to the table is incredible and the Blazers would not be as good on offense without him. If Dame's having a rare off night in the clutch, they have CJ who is also really good in the clutch. Notable clutch performances include game 7 of the WCSF in 2019 vs the Nuggets and the play in game vs the Grizzlies in the bubble. CJ has no issue creating his own shot and I'm hoping he can be the second option the team needs. I think he definitely will and I am excited to see CJ playing this season.
Overall I think The Blazers are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, probably the best version of the Blazers Dame has ever played with, and one team you gotta watch out for. I'm expecting a great season from the Blazers and I'm hoping they can live up to these expectations.