Choong Huh's Blog

Choong Huh

Jul 27

Can Trail Blazers Make The Playoffs This Season?

By Choong Huh Posted in: Blazers, Grizzlies, NicolasBatum, Rockets, Suns, WesleyMatthews
Playoff? Is it a realistic goal from the Trail Blazers team?

The western conference has become deeper than it was last season. Minnesota added some pieces to their roster. Healthy Golden State Warriors may emerge as a dark horse. The youngsters of Utah Jazz are only improving. Mavericks may win less games than the season before, but will still stay in the playoff race. Right now, I see Portland fighting very hard for the 8th seed by the end of the coming season. I expect OKC, Lakers, Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, SA Spurs and Denver Nuggets to take the 1st to 7th seeds (probably in a mixed order...). Then there will be aforementioned teams, plus the Trail Blazers, fighting for the 8th seed. If we are to grab that 8th seed, we MUST be a better team than the rest.

Will we have a better record than Minnesota, Golden State, Utah AND Dallas? Lets Compare teams.

Portland has an all-star power forward, Lamarcus Aldridge. Nicolas Batum is a quality starter at SF position. Damian Lillard comes in with great expectations to play point guard, while experienced European rookies Victor Claver and Joel Freeland are expected to help the front court. Our biggest hole is the center position. Either Meyers Leonard or Joel Freeland must quickly become a legitimate starting NBA center. Otherwise, opposing guards will have no problem putting them into foul troubles, and guys like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard will have fun nights in Portland. Blazers do have an advantage in having a very deep, versatile bench that has athletes like JJ Hickson, Elliot Williams, Luke Babbit and Victor Claver. 

Minnesota is the team I really hate for giving Batum that huge offer sheet. However, this is also a team that I really pity. Horribly managed. This is a team that would rather have Chase Budinger for one season than to keep the 18th pick that could have turned out to be Terrence Jones. They signed Andrei Kirilenko, but traded away Wes Johnson and their next first round pick for nothing in return to clear cap space. Amnestied Darko and waived Martell Webster for cap space, but failed to land Nic Batum. They have some horrible momentum going into the season. Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love should keep the team competitive, but their success will depend on the biggest unknown, Brandon Roy's ability to play. If he isn't able to start, Luke Ridnour will be forced to play out of his position at SG (with Wes Johnson AND Wayne Ellington gone) and the team will fall apart. Right now, my bet is that Portland WILL have a better record.


Golden State is a well coached team, but also plagued by two bad contracts of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. David Lee cannot defend and Andrew Bogut's health is a factor. This is a team that will heavily depend upon the development of young Klay Thompson(Go COUGS!!), Stephen Curry (who will also likely get hurt) and Harrison Barnes. There isn't a dependable bench player on this team beside Jarrett Jack. Too many unknown for a mid-lottery team to handle to make it to the post season. Portland WILL have a better record than them.

Dallas seemed to be off to a horrible season after failing to sign Deron Williams to a contract, but they quickly filled their rosters with enough talents to stay competitive. Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo, Elton Brand and Darren Collison are all capable players. They are added to Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Mavericks also feature some nice bench players (Rod Beaubois, Vince Carter, Dahntay Jones) and rookies (Jae Crowder, Dominique Jones). This is a team that looks to be a better team than Portland as of now.

Utah looks like the team to beat to have that 8th seed. They feature a monstrous front court that consists of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. Gordon Hayward has shaped into a nice starter for them. Former lottery picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks will only improve. Athletes like Jeremy Evans, Raja Bell and Mo Williams will help the team move forward. Portland will have to do more than keep the current roster to beat Utah for the 8th seed. Utah will have a better record. 

I don't think Olshey is done crafting the Portland roster. He did say we are 're-tooling', not rebuilding. His mindset should probably be in win-now from the first day of the season.The team will showcase the young players, and package one or two with JJ Hickson and/or Wes Matthews for an upgrade at SG or C in a mid-season trade. Some ideas are...

JJ Hickson, Wes Matthews, Victor Claver, a 2013 second round pick and draft rights to Kostas Papanikolaou for Kevin Martin and Jon Brockman
[only a rebuilding team like Houston will let go of a player like Kevin Martin]

JJ Hickson, Joel Freeland and a first round pick for Marcin Gortat
[Idk, maybe not... ]

Nicolas Batum, JJ Hickson and a 2013 second round pick for Rudy Gay, Quincy Pondexter and a 2013 first round pick
[Rudy Gay will soon be a ridiculously overpaid player, and Memphis could look to level down a bit for a price.]

I don't know, guys. I'm really bored and wanted to write. What do you all think?

16 Comments

  1. I like JJ but... I would do ur deal for Gortat in heartbeat! :)
    For Rudy, teams/we should b able to get a pretty deal for Rudy (bc Mem has proven that they can EASILY survive/thrive w/o him); I know money wise, ur proposal works but I'm not ready to give up Batum (until we REALLY know what we've got in him; 1/2 of this season should b enough time to tell ;) IF after 1/2 this season, we don't c Batum moving toward his full potential... "let's make a (urs for Rudy) deal!"

    by Simpson on 7/28/2012 8:16 AM
  2. Sorry for the 2x's post, my mouse has been "acting up" lately & she's goin' in the round file 2day! 2 the Powers that b, feel free 2 delete this post ;)

    by Simpson on 7/28/2012 8:19 AM
  3. Until they've hired a coach with a system and actually had a preseason, it's impossible to gauge how far we'll go. All the factors in the West are unknown as well. Lakers, Mavs, Spurs, etc.. could easily suffer injuries to key players, we know all about this in Portland. Just hope they're fun to watch and competitive. My hope is to make it out of the second round in the west.

    by riverman on 7/28/2012 2:21 PM
  4. I just hope that Damian is good enough to kill the best pg in the league. And get past the 2nd round of the playoff with our pick being at 15th pick of 2013 draft.

    by DamianLilard on 7/28/2012 3:29 PM
  5. @ DamianLilard, I truly believe that u/Damian WILL b @ LEAST 1 of the best guards in the the NBA (in any given yr. I hope he becomes THE best, sooner rather than later ;) I'm a HUGE Blazer's fan/homer but I think it's dreaming to make it to the 2nd round; considering all that's happened (& even considering-ish what could ;) IF we even make the playoffs I'll consider this season an extreme success (Choong broke it down very fairly I think; so most likely, we're the 9th team THIS yr. ;) Should we miss the playoffs (again most likely), just as long as our guys leave it all out there on the court every night & show improvements, I'm gonna b plenty happy w/ OUR Blazers :) All I'm asking of u DamianLilard & all Blazer's fans is that we're patient AND supportive of our guys through their learning curves'. Now w/ that said, let's fight like hell & take it to the rest of the NBA! Go Blazers!!!

    by Simpson on 7/28/2012 4:44 PM
  6. Thanks for the comment guys! I wrote this because I was really angry at some of these "experts" giving some harsh season predictions for Trailblazers, especially when the articles were coming from Bleacherreport.com, home of uneducated sports writers. Too many of them had us doing worse than Minnesota, `Golden State, Phoenix and even New Orleans. I took it personally to break it down. We might not make the postseason, but we deserve to be in the discussion.

    Dallas and Utah respectively have concerns that may lead to a downfall that we experienced last season.

    Dallas has a very capable roster on paper, but a lot of them are patch-ups. They were brought in for a quick fix, did not have a lot of face time with Dirk, Marion and Carlisle, which could mean the team chemistry may not be there. A bunch of them are under a 1-year contract (Kaman and Brand are 1-years, and Mayo will most likely opt out of his 3M player option) and it could work in a negative way.

    I expect Utah to make a mid season trade. They will trade Paul Millsap, who is on his last contract year, to make Derrick Favors a clear starter at PF. Depending on the result of this trade, there could be an x-factor that could play in either a good or bad way.

    I sincerely believe that the team's goal should be to make the playoffs, regardless of how low the seed may be. It will be an invaluable experience for our rookies, and give us a clear sense of achievement moving forward. Although we won't make it to the next round, because we'll likely play the Lakers or Thunder, postseason is always good as long as we don't settle for mediocrity.

    by Choong Huh on 7/28/2012 7:39 PM
  7. Bro that was an awesome article lol. I agree we have a chance to make the playoffs and who knows how good Memphis will be or maybe age finally hits Spurs and they are struggling. But I wouldnt trade for Kevin Martin. He dosent really play defense and in injury prone.

    I would love to that Memphis trade. Maybe trade Matthews, Hickson, and Babbit, and a future first round pick for Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi. We would be giving up alot but I think MEM wouldnt let go of Rudy without doing so.

    JJ Hickson and A second round pick draft rights to Kostas Papanikolau for Zaza Pachulia and 2013 first round pick.
    We get a decent starting center and a draft pick that could be valuable

    JUst some ideass/..........

    by Siccolo on 7/29/2012 10:54 AM
  8. Babbit and Victor Claver and 2013 first rounder for Demar Derozan and 2013 first rounder
    Then have Wes come off the bench and Barton back up Batum lol.

    by Siccolo on 7/29/2012 12:29 PM
  9. Great blog! Bumped to the front page :)

    by sarahhecht on 7/30/2012 9:49 AM
  10. waive JARED like i have been saying and waive Babbitt if he does not have a good season. also trade Wes for HARDEN this will be a awesome trade for both team also put in a 1 rounder if we have to.

    by DamianLilard on 7/30/2012 12:47 PM
  11. No offense to those who think we are going to win a championship this year. I just don't see it. I would rather rebuild for one year and add one or two more lottery players next draft, then face mediocrity for many years to come (first or second round and done) with #20-#26 draft picks year after year.

    by mbmurr1 on 7/30/2012 9:28 PM
  12. I think it's all going to depend on our player development.

    I believe that LaMarcus Aldridge is capable of becoming the next Kevin Garnett (in his prime). They share similar physique, range and defensive abilities. What LMA lacks is the insane motor and huge confidence of Garnett.

    Batum definitely needs to become a more vocal player and a leader. Lifting some more weight would do him good, since he's a very skinny-looking fella. He looks like Andrei Kirilenko in developing.

    Matthews is.... idk... In my opinion, he's the best defender on the team. He has a very respectable attitude who continuously wants to be better. However, he never had that 'breakout season' we all expected. I personally believe he hit his ceilings. I would love to have him around for years to come, but at a lower price.

    By the end of this coming season, I hope Damian Lillard to look more like Derrick Rose (I think he'll eventually become a better player than Russell Westbrook. Just look at all these positives..). Meyers needs to be at a Javale Mcgee level of athleticism (and he's a MUCH smarter player than Javale). Will Barton has the capability to become a Wilson Chandler, but it'll take more than a season.

    Then, imagine a lineup of...

    Derrick Rose (almost.....)
    Wes Matthews
    Andrei Kirilenko (in his prime)
    Kevin Garnett (in his prime)
    Javale Mcgee (a smarter one)

    and add to that, Shannon Brown (Elliot Williams), a more physical Steve Novak (Luke), Nolan Smith (I don't know what to make of him... sorry...), JJ HIckson and a half of Wilson Chandler! I like how it looks :P

    by Choong Huh on 7/30/2012 11:47 PM
  13. @choong HUh I agreed with you on your imagine lineup.
    I hope we will trade for a lottery pick next year and get Shabuzz, that mean we have to trade away either or both Elliott or Barton.
    This team will be the next OKC with better depth player.

    by DamianLilard on 7/31/2012 8:14 AM
  14. Great read with wonderful insights!!! Just a question: Do you mind if I use this information with a few tweaks and give credit to you? I want to use this for my "blog" (www.blazersworld.wordpress.com). Some of the trades you mentioned, I am not a huge fan of. Rudy Gay isn't really worth what we would have to be giving away. Kevin Martin is injury prone. I know for a fact Steve Nash makes every player better, and the same could be with Marcin Gortat. I remember that before he was traded to Phoenix, he was one of the lower-caliber players on the Suns team.

    As for your reasonings about the Playoffs for this Blazers team, I think you are pretty much spot-on! The comparisons you made in your last comment above are what I would consider to be fairly accurate.

    by basketball1367 on 7/31/2012 7:53 PM
  15. ^yeah dude. Do not mind

    by Choong Huh on 8/1/2012 11:01 AM
  16. Thanks!!

    by basketball1367 on 8/1/2012 6:06 PM
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