Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Portland a playoff team in 2013-14?
By Joe Kaiser
Portland's solid group of additions this summer, from the acquisitions of veteran center Robin Lopez and promising power forward Thomas Robinson to the signing of underrated free agent swingman Dorell Wright to the draft-day selections of C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe, are encouraging signs that the future is bright for the Trail Blazers.
But a closer look shows that even an improved Blazers' roster could have a difficult time making the playoffs again next season.
Portland finished 11th in the Western Conference last season when injuries took their toll and losses piled up in bunches late in the season, but for much of the season this was a team under first-year head coach Terry Stotts in the playoff hunt.
That figures to be the case again in 2013-14, but making the playoffs will likely mean leapfrogging a team like Golden State, Denver or Minnesota for one of the last seeds out West. Today, ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton lists the Blazers as the No. 9 best team in the Western Conference, and here he is to explain his reasoning.
Kevin PeltonPortland may have to catch Minnesota to make the playoffs
"The Blazers are right on Minnesota's heels after a solid offseason that saw GM Neil Olshey rebuild their bench on the cheap. Only second-year center Meyers Leonard figures to remain in the rotation from last year's historically bad second unit, while Robin Lopez slides in for J.J. Hickson to solidify the starting five. If rookie C.J. McCollum contributes immediately and Thomas Robinson plays like he did in Las Vegas Summer League -- where he was a terror on the glass -- Portland will return to the playoffs after a one-year absence."