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Portland Trail Blazers Betting Outlook
Western NBA Conference Odds: +2000
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +4400
After rallying to make the postseason a couple of months ago, the Portland Trail Blazers are hoping to make their playoff road a little easier this season. Portland still has Damian Lillard, one of the top scoring guards in the NBA, and health is the biggest factor for this team. CJ McCollum is back as a second scoring combo guard next to Lillard, while Carmelo Anthony will try to be a third-scoring option at age 36.
The Trail Blazers have a young frontcourt with Jusuf Nurcic and Zach Collins that could be solid, though the team’s depth is a little questionable. It took a great run in the Orlando bubble for the Blazers to rally to make the postseason by winning the play-in game, and the number of good teams in the West may make it difficult for Portland to make the playoffs for an eighth straight year.
Trail Blazers 2021 Predictions
Regular Season Record: 30-42
Conference Standing: 10th
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Portland Trail Blazers Team Leaders
Lillard is one of the best clutch players, coming up with big-scoring games in the biggest moments. He’s a confident player who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, pushing his teammates to greater heights. Lillard is a scorer first, but he can dish the ball to teammates, as shown by his eight assists per game. He’s also solid on the defensive end, averaging 1.1 steals in 2019-20.
Right next to the Blazers in leadership is McCollum, who is almost interchangeable with Lillard at the guard spots. McCollum has comparable stats to Lillard, though McCollum isn’t quite as aggressive as Lillard. The two make up one of the most proficient scoring backcourts in the league and are definitely the leaders of this Blazers squad.
Portland Trail Blazers Injuries
Portland Trail Blazers Team History
The Portland Trail Blazers joined the NBA in 1970 as one of three expansion teams.The early years were not easy for the franchise, as they went six seasons without a playoff berth, earning the No. 1 overall pick in the draft twice.
In 1972, the team selected LaRue Martin, a selection that did not pay off, as Martin’s NBA career lasted four seasons. In 1974, with the top pick in the draft, Portland took UCLA center Bill Walton.
In 1976, when the ABA merged with the NBA, the Trail Blazers selected forward Maurice Lucas in the dispersal draft. Portland also hired Jack Ramsay as the team’s head coach prior to the 1976-77 season.
Things came together quickly, and the Trail Blazers not only made their first playoff appearance in 1976-77 but advanced to the NBA Finals. Portland faced the Philadelphia 76ers and fell behind 2-0 in the series, but it rallied with four straight victories for the franchise’s first championship, with Walton being named Finals MVP.
The next season, the Blazers got off to a 50-10 start, but Walton was sidelined with a foot injury, and the team stumbled to the finish, getting eliminated by Seattle in the conference semifinals. Walton was unhappy with the medical treatment he was receiving and demanded a trade, and when Portland didn’t oblige, he held out the entire 1978-79 season before leaving as a free agent.
Despite another No. 1 overall pick, Mychal Thompson in 1978, the Trail Blazers could never get past the conference semifinals of the Western Conference over the next decade. They missed the playoffs just once — in 1981-82 — but couldn’t get over the hump.
In 1983, the Trail Blazers selected Clyde Drexler in the draft, giving them their shooting guard of the future.The following year, with the No. 2 overall pick, Portland decided to take center Sam Bowie since it was set at shooting guard. That meant passing over the chance to draft Michael Jordan, who was taken with the next pick by the Chicago Bulls.
By the end of the 1980s, Drexler was surrounded by a number of players from small colleges — Terry Porter, Kevin Duckworth and Jerome Kersey — as well as Buck Williams, who was acquired in a trade from New Jersey prior to the 1989-90 season.The team gelled and advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time in 1990 but fell to the Detroit Pistons in five games.
Two seasons later, Portland was back in the Finals, this time against Jordan and the Bulls. Once again, the Trail Blazers came up short, losing in six games.
The team continued to make the playoffs but wasn’t able to advance more than a round, leading Drexler to request a trade to a contender, which he got during the 1994-95 season when he was dealt to Houston. The rest of the core of the NBA Finals teams left via free agency, and a new group started getting good by the end of the 1990s.
A squad led by Rasheed Wallace, Scottie Pippen, Steve Smith, Arvydas Sabonis and Damon Stoudamire advanced to back-to-back Western Conference finals in 1999 and 2000, but each time lost to the eventual NBA champion (Spurs and Lakers). The loss to Los Angeles was especially difficult as Portland held a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 7 but ended up losing.
The Blazers’ 21-year streak of making the postseason ended in 2002-03, which was the first of five non-playoff campaigns. Portland had three straight first-round exits, followed by another non-playoff campaign, but drafted Lillard in 2012t.
Lillard excelled immediately, winning the Rookie of the Year award, then leading the team to the playoffs in 2013-14.The team hasn’t missed the postseason since, getting as far as the Western Conference finals in 2018-19 before being swept by the Golden State Warriors.
Six players that are enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame have spent time with the Trail Blazers, including Walton, Drexler, Pippen, Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic, while Ramsay is one of two Hall of Fame Portland head coaches.
Portland dealt with multiple injuries throughout the 2019-20 season and got off to a slow start, winning five of its first 17 games. The Trail Blazers added Carmelo Anthony for a little added scoring punch, but the team couldn’t find any consistency, sitting at 29-37 when the season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Portland was one of the 22 teams invited to participate in the Orlando bubble resumption of the season, and the Trail Blazers took advantage of the opportunity.The team went 6-2 in the final eight games of the regular season, setting up a one-game showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Lillard was especially clutch down the stretch, averaging 51.3 points over the last three games to power Portland to the do-or-die contest. He followed that up with 31 points and 10 assists, and McCollum added 29 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, as the Blazers edged the Grizzlies 126-122 to advance to the playoffs.
Portland faced the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Behind 34 points from Lillard, the Trail Blazers stunned the Lakers in Game 1 of the series, but they wouldn’t win another game. Lillard was hurt in Game 4, and Portland was shown the door in five games.
Terry Stotts is entering his ninth season as the Portland Trail Blazers head coach, having led the team to the playoffs in all but one of his seasons with the club. It’s Stotts’ third stint as an NBA head coach, having also coached the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks for two-season stints in the 2000s.
Stotts has been an NBA coach since 1992 when he joined the Seattle SuperSonics as an assistant to George Karl. Stotts followed Karl to Milwaukee in 1998 before being named the Hawks’ head coach in 2002. Atlanta went 52-85 in Stotts’ two seasons, and he was fired after the 2003-04 campaign.
After a brief stint as a Warriors assistant, Stotts was named the Bucks’ head coach for the 2005-06 season.The team made the playoffs in his first season, but he was fired when the team started 23-41 the following season. Stotts caught on as a Dallas Mavericks assistant the following year, earning an NBA title while with the club, and then was named Portland’s head coach for the 2012-13 season.
In his first eight years with the team, he compiled a 360-288 record, the second-most wins among Trail Blazers head coaches.
Robert Covington, forward, Houston Rockets
Harry Giles III, forward, Sacramento Kings
Enes Kanter, center, Boston Celtics
Derrick Jones Jr., forward, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside, center, Sacramento Kings
Trevor Ariza, forward, Oklahoma City Thunder
CJ Elleby, forward, Washington State
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