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valade16
01-08-2015, 07:19 PM
http://www.si.com/nba/2015/01/08/blazers-nba-best-kept-secret-damian-lillard-lamarcus

"While the NBA world at large flutters through storylines of short-lived interest, the Portland Trail Blazers go about their damn business. They work from a place of deep familiarity, having made only ancillary changes to their roster or approach in recent seasons. From that relationship comes an accountability to cause. Commitment is never much in question for this group, which has allowed head coach Terry Stotts to lean further on scheme, safe in the knowledge that his players will execute capably.

To date, Portland has yielded the second-best record in the NBA despite the team's first major run-in with injury in its current iteration. Robin Lopez's broken hand has tested the Blazers' defense and depth, areas of their game that did not hold up well last season under scrutiny. They've responded by winning eight of their last 10 games nine of their last 11, if you count the matchup with San Antonio that Lopez exited early while posting defensive marks superior to those they had previously. The marvel here isn't merely that the Blazers are getting by without their starting center. It's that they've grown and solidified to the point that they could play high-level defense for 25 games and somehow improve upon the injury of the team's best defensive player.

The balance of pairing that kind of defensive efficacy with an already terrific offense issues a powerful statement: Portland should be entertained as a trustworthy contender for the Western Conference crown, if not the NBA title. There is little other way to regard a team both this good and this sure in its process. The core of the Blazers plays with no doubt, and leaves little."

In the pre-season, many people believed if any Western playoff team from last season were to miss out on the playoffs this season, it would be the Blazers. The biggest weaknesses people pointed to were that they didn't have a Top 10 defense and were relatively injury free.

This season Portland has the 2nd best record in the league despite injuries to Lopez, LMA and Batum while fielding a Top 5 defense in terms of efficiency.

So, to put it bluntly, do you buy this article's assertion that the Blazers are a contender? Why or why not.

JV35
01-08-2015, 07:22 PM
How can one argue against the premise that a team with the 2nd best record in the league is not a contender?

houstonfan
01-08-2015, 07:38 PM
How can one argue against the premise that a team with the 2nd best record in the league is not a contender?

You can't. The only thing against them is they are 27th in strength of schedule but they can't control that. They have to be considered contenders out west

Kyben36
01-08-2015, 08:17 PM
there are a ton of contenders in the west, literally, i think seeds 1-8 depending could be contenders,

the only one i dont like is Mempis, but i dont like Conley (dont mind him, but not good enough to lead that team from the perimiter) and i cant stand Randolph
I love gasol, but i cant see him being enough to carry that team.

GS
Portland
Dallas
Houston
LA
San Antonio
New Orleans
OKC

could all come out as contenders.

Kyben36
01-08-2015, 08:20 PM
there are a ton of contenders in the west, literally, i think seeds 1-8 depending could be contenders,

the only one i dont like is Mempis, but i dont like Conley (dont mind him, but not good enough to lead that team from the perimiter) and i cant stand Randolph
I love gasol, but i cant see him being enough to carry that team.

GS
Portland
Dallas
Houston
LA
San Antonio
New Orleans
OKC

could all come out as contenders.

Ty Fast
01-08-2015, 09:11 PM
there are a ton of contenders in the west, literally, i think seeds 1-8 depending could be contenders,

the only one i dont like is Mempis, but i dont like Conley (dont mind him, but not good enough to lead that team from the perimiter) and i cant stand Randolph
I love gasol, but i cant see him being enough to carry that team.

GS
Portland
Dallas
Houston
LA
San Antonio
New Orleans
OKC

could all come out as contenders.

U have new orleans over memhis??

Shammyguy3
01-08-2015, 10:37 PM
I think Portland's probably a top-3 favorite for the ring this year :shrug: I think even most casual fans know how good they are

FlashBolt
01-09-2015, 12:16 AM
Lillard is a beast. That is all that should and will be said.

basch152
01-09-2015, 01:12 AM
How can one argue against the premise that a team with the 2nd best record in the league is not a contender?

The same way Cleveland was never a true contender with Lebron, despite finishing with the top record. LeBron can carry that horrible team to a great regular season record, but outside of beating an aging pistons, they never belonged even close to the finals.

And for further examples from the NFL, the same way the Chiefs were undefeated for so long last year but were never considered a legit contender, or the way Arizona had the best record, but were going on their 4th string QB, so were not considered a contender.

That being said, I'm not disparaging Atlanta, I'm just making a point.

PowerHouse
01-09-2015, 02:15 AM
I actually think the biggest secret in the NBA are the Atlanta Hawks not the Blazers. Some people are still sleeping on those guys.

Raps18-19 Champ
01-09-2015, 02:52 AM
The title and what the thread is about don't relate at all.

valade16
01-09-2015, 09:21 AM
The title and what the thread is about don't relate at all.

The title of the Sports Illustrated article was "The best kept secret in the NBA" so I just used that.

I also figured in the main, if it didn't have the words "LeBron, Kobe, Cavs, Knicks, or Lakers" it wasn't going to go anywhere...

valade16
01-09-2015, 09:22 AM
I actually think the biggest secret in the NBA are the Atlanta Hawks not the Blazers. Some people are still sleeping on those guys.

I think the fact that the East has good teams besides Chicago is a secret. Or the fact the East has teams besides the Bulls, Cavs, and Knicks at all.

2-ONE-5
01-09-2015, 10:35 AM
Blazers seem to rely on jump shots and that style usually doesnt take you too far. Im sure off a bit since I havent seen much of them this year though

Giannis94
01-09-2015, 11:12 AM
The best kept secret in the NBA is the Bucks. Still no love.

InRoseWeTrust
01-09-2015, 11:47 AM
I've never bought into Portland's ability to go all the way, and that includes this year. I just don't think they have it. (not trying to hate)

Sanjay
01-10-2015, 07:31 PM
It depends upon what your definition of contender is. If it is 'has a chance of winning the championship' then I would yes, but then there would also be 8 other contenders at this point (Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Mavericks and Bulls - the Cavs may be later). If it is 'the winner would most likely come from one of these teams' then I would probably say no, then there would be 3 or 4 (Spurs, Thunder with Durant and Westbrook, Warriors and possibly Bulls depending on the health of Rose).

KnicksorBust
01-10-2015, 08:34 PM
How can one argue against the premise that a team with the 2nd best record in the league is not a contender?

I have them as the 9th most likely to win behind 7 west teams and 2 east teams

Kyben36
01-10-2015, 10:11 PM
U have new orleans over memhis??

i just dont think memphis will ever be able to pull it out, i could see new orleans as the 8th seed pulling it out as an upset though.