Blazers mid-season report

The Portland Trailblazers reached the halfway point of their NBA season as the eighth best team in the Western Conference with 18 wins and 23 losses. Their struggles are one of the interesting stories of the first half of the 2016-17 NBA season.

Is it possible for the Blazers to be be even better now? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Lillard is the Blazers leader.

There are two major reasons that the Blazers have struggled in the first half of the NBA season: a lack of defense, and the lack of an efficient stretch four.

Festus Ezeli was signed to bolster the Blazers, and give them some defensive presence. However, Ezeli, a 6'11", 255 lb. center, has yet to play a game for Portland due to a knee injury. Couple Ezeli's absence with missing Al-Farouq Aminu, their best wing defender, for 18 games, and you wind up with the 29th ranked (of 30) defensive rating in the NBA (112).

Offensively, the Blazers do not have a BIG that can consistently nail three-point shots. Aminu shoots 26% from deep. Ed Davis and Mason Plumlee do not attempt threes. Noah Vonleh shoots 31% from downtown, and only Meyers Leonard, at 33.9%, is a reasonable threat from deep among Blazers fours or fives. Leonard, however, is not efficient overall, and rightfully his minutes are sparse.

Are the Blazers in touch with their reality?

Yes. The Blazers have two good young guards, and a solid young center. They are near the mid-point of a building process. The Blazers will receive a likely late first round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Draft. ...The Blazers 2017 second round pick is going to Houston.

Five most efficient by position

PG - Damian Lillard .671, SG - C.J. McCollum .598, SF - Maurice Harkless .431, *PF - Al-Farouq Aminu .402, C Mason Plumlee .645

* Aminu, while a valuable defender, doesn't fit the mold of a stretch four due to his inconsistent three-point shooting (just 26.3 % 3-pt.).

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg?

The Blazers TEAM defensive rating is 112.0 (29th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Al -Farouq Aminu 109, Mason Plumlee 109, Noah Vonleh 110, Ed Davis 111, and Maurice Harkless 111.


NBA related. Trade targets.