This NBA season was an unexpected one, with teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies making surreal strides in their goal to the top. However, there are teams who have gone on a downward trend compared to their previous seasons.
The Portland Trail Blazers are one such team. They are currently stuck on no mans land. It is a hard to believe that a team like the Blazers would have fallen off so quickly when they had reached the Western Conference Finals just 3 seasons ago.
They had a decent start to the season with a record of 5-5 in the first 10 games. But, it was clear to the fans that the team was struggling. C J McCollum was sidelined due to injury at the beginning and had to wait till mid-season before he could start.
Damian Lillard had to carry the team and in the past he was capable of doing that. This season was a different story as the NBA had announced rule changes where if a player tucks his hand into his opponents and gets caught up during the act of shooting then the foul won’t be called.
This change was necessary considering how James Harden abused the system but it affected Lillard the most as his scoring dipped from 28.8 ppg to 24.0 ppg. With the absence of McCollum and Dame’s struggles, the Blazers went tumbling down the cliff.
The acquisition of Chauncey Billups as their head coach did not help the Blazers much as they still continued to struggle. Billups had to call out the team multiple times this season in order to get them back to winning gear but that hasn’t been the case.
The Blazers have experienced multiple losing streaks and after Lillard got injured, the management decided that it was time to blow up the team. Then came the trade deadline where they traded away many of their key pieces.
The Trade Deadline
Portland sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round draft pick. CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell, in exchange for guards Josh Hart, Tomáš Satoranský, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Didi Louzada to the New Orleans Pelicans.
This trade shows that the Blazers are entering the rebuilding phase after the season did not go in their favor. It would not be a surprise to see Lillard gone during free agency of 2022 as he would obviously want to contend for the title. So to Portland, Dame Time’s over now.