The Portland Trail Blazers kick off their 2018 season with a heavy heart as they mourn the loss of owner Paul Allen.
Allen’s sudden passing will hopefully have little impact on the team’s performance as they open their season at home on national television against the new-look Los Angeles Lakers.
The Portland Trail Blazers don’t get a whole lot of exposure but they have put together a solid squad over the years led by their backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Blazers finished third in the Western Conference last season with a 49-33 record but were bounced in the first round by the New Orleans Pelicans.
While it’s always disappointing to lose a playoff series it’s even harder to be swept by a lower seed which might leave the Blazers hungrier than ever this year.
The Blazers come into the 2018-19 season with largely the same supporting cast as last year so the chemistry is there and the team is looking to take the next logical step forward. The Western Conference will still go through the Warriors while the Rockets and Lakers will be monumental roadblocks.
Here’s how the Blazers roster and lineup looks going into the new season.
Blazers Projected Starting Lineup for 2018-19 Season
C- Jusuf Nurkic
PF- Zach Collins
SF- Jake Layman
SG- CJ McCollum
PG- Damian Lillard
The Blazers will again be led by their talented backcourt, provided no trades happen this year. There are also rumors swirling in the NBA and that will not be very different this time around.
While the Blazers did finish third in the Western Conference last year it’s hard to envision the team doing that again with its current roster. It’s a safe assumption to say the Warriors and Rockets will be numbers one and two but then the rest is up for grabs. The Thunder will still be hanging around, the Lakers are much improved, the Jazz are more seasoned and the Nuggets are surely on the verge of a breakthrough.
Here’s the rest of the Blazers roster.
Blazers Roster for the 2018-19 Season
- C- Jusuf Nurkic
- PF- Zach Collins, Al-Farouq Aminu, Meyers Leonard, Caleb Swanigan
- SF- Jake Layman, Maurice Harkless
- SG- CJ McCollum, Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas, Evan Turner, Anfernee Simons
- PG- Damian Lillard, Wade Baldwin IV
The Blazers feature a solid starting lineup but the bench appears to be a little thin this year as it’s led by veterans Seth Curry, Meyers Leonard, and Nik Stauskas. Nurkic appears to be on the cusp of something great while we know what we’re getting from Lillard and McCollum.
The best way for the Blazers to make some noise this season is to have some of the role players step up, Nurkic to keep improving his game and have Lillard and McCollum keep up their stardom in the backcourt.
By returning largely the same supporting cast as last year, the Blazers will look to crack the 50 win barrier and make some noise in the always loaded Western Conference. Maybe this could end up being the season we see the Blazers break up the roster and retool.