18-14 • 6th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
Based on what we saw from them last season, this current Blazers side is anything but a championship contender. They did an admirable job to even make it to the playoffs, but they were completely outclassed by the eventual champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the first round.
The problem for the Blazers is that the West is only going to get better next season. The defending champion Lakers appear to be even stronger, and a healthy Los Angeles Clippers squad -- among other teams -- are expected to give them a run for their money.
They did their best to bolster the 2020-21 roster by bringing in Robert Covington, and if Zach Collins comes back healthy in January, they at least have a shot at making a run to the Western Conference Finals like they did in 2019.
One of the biggest questions that has hounded the Blazers franchise over the past few years is whether or not CJ McCollum is the right guy to pair alongside Damian Lillard. This pair has served as Portland's one-two punch for several seasons now, but as of yet, the Blazers haven't come close to winning a championship. This begs the question: should the Blazers move on from McCollum and try to bring in a different star that could have a better fit than Lillard?
There's no denying that Lillard and McCollum form one of the most dynamic backcourts in the entire NBA. The biggest issue is that they're both scorers who operate best with the ball in their hands. Nevertheless, it appears to be premature for the Blazers to trade away McCollum right now. It would probably be best for them to run it back at least one more season before they consider trading McCollum.
Jusuf Nurkic was out for the most part of the 2019-20 season, and he wasn't exactly a hundred percent when he returned. When this trio was healthy in 2018-19, they went all the way to the West Finals. Portland just brought on Robert Covington from the Houston Rockets, which appears to be an excellent piece playing alongside Lillard and McCollum.
The Blazers might ultimately end up trading away McCollum in the future, but in our opinion, his pairing with Lillard deserves at least one more season.
One of the most significant highlights of the bubble was how Damian Lillard absolutely dominated in Disney World. The five-time All-Star carried the Blazers to an improbable and very impressive run in the seeding games, which ultimately led to Portland securing the eighth seed in the West.
In eight seeding games played, Lillard put up insane numbers: 37.6 points (on 49.7 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 9.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, while also connecting on 5.5 triples per contest on a 43.6-percent clip. Those are undeniably some MVP-caliber numbers, which led to the five-time All-NBA team member bagging the bubble MVP award.
Lillard has proven that he can play at an elite, MVP level. The one thing he needs to do now is to sustain this level of play for an entire season. He seems capable of doing so, and if he achieves this in the 2020-21 campaign, he might just be in the running for the coveted NBA MVP award.
In 58 games for the Blazers last season, Carmelo Anthony averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, while also connecting on 1.5 triples per game. Portland re-signed Melo on a one-year extension worth just $2.6 million, which, all things considered, is a huge bargain.
There's no denying that Anthony is no longer the perennial All-Star he once was, but he still proved to be a key piece for the Blazers last season. There was some interest in him during the offseason, so it was great that Portland was able to keep him on board for at least another year.
Melo is still a potent scorer who can catch fire on any given night. At the end of the day, there aren't too many free agents out there -- if any -- who can average 15 points a night at just $2.6 million.
The Blazers were one of the teams that capitalized on the Houston Rockets' tumultuous offseason by pouncing on 30-year-old small forward Robert Covington. Portland sent Trevor Ariza, Isaiah Stewart, and a 2021 first-round pick to the Rockets in exchange for Covington, which is already looking like a great deal for the Blazers.
The most valuable asset Covington brings to the table for the Blazers is his defense. A couple of years ago, the 6-foot-7 swingman was named to the All-Defensive squad -- and for good reason. Covington is easily one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, and he could very well serve as Portland's defensive anchor moving forward.
He's a pretty good three-point shooter as well, averaging 2.3 triples per game on a 35.6-percent clip in his career. The Blazers are one of the top teams in the NBA in terms of being a threat from distance, and the addition of Covington only makes them better.
Portland is a real threat in the West, and Covington might just be the piece they've been longing for to take this team to the next level.
Portland's "Rip City" moniker dates all the way back from 1971 during the team's inaugural season. This was courtesy of the Blazers' play-by-play announcer, Bill Schonely, who coined the term during a matchup against a powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers side. Portland guard Jim Barnett drained a near-impossible long-distance shot in a crucial juncture in the game, which prompted Schonely to shout, "Rip City baby!" -- a term that Schonley admitted he has no clue where it came from.
Nevertheless, the catchy name stuck, and it remains one of Portland's aliases to this day.
Damian Lillard is without a doubt Portland's best player. He's the Blazers' cornerstone superstar for good reason.
Lillard showcased his incredible arsenal during the Disney World bubble. The 30-year-old bagged bubble MVP honors behind astounding averages of 37.6 points (on 49.7 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 9.6 assists, and 1.4 steals, while also connecting on 5.5 triples per contest on a 43.6-percent clip. Not many in the league are capable of playing at this elite level, which does not only make him Portland's best player, but also one of the best players in the entire NBA.
It also matters that Lillard is one of the few remaining players in the league who place a high value on loyalty. Last year, the five-time All-Star signed a massive four-year extension with the Blazers that will run until 2025. Barring an astonishing change of heart, it looks like Lillard is going to see out his entire career in Portland.
Forbes listed the Blazers' net worth at $1.9 billion as of February 2021.
Interestingly, the city of Portland is among the smallest in the entire NBA in terms of market size. Nevertheless, the Blazers franchise also ranks highly in terms of players payroll. Paul Allen, the owner of the team prior to his passing in October 2018, was one of the richest men in the world, and he was not exactly frugal when it came to player spending. As a result, the team's net worth has grown significantly over the past two decades.
The Blazers play their home games in the Moda Center, which was also known as the Rose Garden up until 2013. This has been Portland's home court since the arena opened in 1995.
The Moda Center is owned by the Paul Allen estate, which also owns the team. The 19,000-capacity stadium broke ground in July of 1993, and it opened in October of 1995. At that time, the construction cost reached $262 million.
The Blazers are now officially owned by the Paul Allen estate.
Paul Allen, who passed away in October 2018 due to Lymphoma, purchased the team back in 1988. At that time, he paid $70 million for the team. As of February 2020, Forbes lists the team's net worth at $1.85 billion.
Allen made his fortune in technology, being one of the co-founders of Microsoft. Prior to his passing, he was one of the richest individuals in the entire world.
The Blazers are currently coached by Terry Stotts, who himself has been with the team for eight seasons now.
Stotts started off as an assistant for the Seattle SuperSonics back in 1995. He's also had assistant coaching stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks. Prior to being hired as the Blazers' head coach in 2012, Stotts also served as the head coach for the Hawks and the Bucks.
In eight seasons with the Blazers ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, Stotts amassed 475 wins against 456 losses, which is good for a .556 winning percentage. He's led the squad to seven consecutive playoff appearances, dating back to 2014. The farthest the Blazers have progressed in the postseason under Stotts was a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2019.
Having been with the Blazers for eight seasons now, team head coach Terry Stotts has had a lot of help along the way. He has a great coaching staff behind him, led by associate head coach Nate Tibbetts, who himself has been with Portland for seven seasons. He served as an assistant coach during his first six years, and was promoted as the associate head coach this past season.
Former NBA players John McCullough and Jannero Pargo are two of Stotts' assistants. The other two are Jim Moran and Dale Osbourne.
Jack Ramsay was Portland's head coach when they won their one and only title in franchise history back in 1977. As such, it could be argued that he's the Blazers' GOAT coach. Aside from guiding Portland to a championship, Ramsay also amassed 453 wins in 10 memorable seasons with the Blazers.
Terry Stotts, Portland's current head coach, also makes it on our list. In eight seasons thus far, the 62-year-old has led the Blazers to seven playoff appearances. This includes a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2019.
Rick Adelman -- who managed the third-most wins in franchise history (291 wins vs. 154 losses for a .654 winning percentage -- is undeniably also an all-time great coach for the Blazers. The fact that he holds the record for most playoff wins (36) cements his status as a legend in Portland.
In no particular order, our Top 5 greatest Blazers players of all time are Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bill Walton, Terry Porter, and Clyde Drexler.
Lillard is currently Portland's cornerstone superstar. The five-time All-Star had his best season last season, averaging30.0 points (on 46.3 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.1 steals, while also knocking down 4.1 triples on a 40.1-percent clip. The 6-foot-2 point guard went bonkers in the Disney World bubble, which deservedly earned him the bubble MVP award. Bonus points for Lillard as well for being a Blazers lifer (for now, at least).
LaMarcus Aldridge played for Portland for nine seasons, earning All-Star honors in four of them. Unfortunately, Aldridge left the Blazers in 2015, which is right about the time Lillard reached new heights. These two playing together during their peaks would have been fun to watch.
Bill Walton played for Portland for just five seasons, but was also the team to its one and only championship in 1977. There's no doubt that he deserves a spot here.
One of the most underrated players in franchise history is two-time All-Star Terry Porter. He was Portland's floor general during the 1980s playing alongside another legend in Clyde Drexler. One could easily argue that Drexler -- who made eight All-Star appearances while in Portland -- is the Blazers’ GOAT, and we won’t disagree with that notion.
Guys like Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are a couple of more recent players that have earned legendary status. However, if we're talking about players who made their mark with the franchise long before the likes of Lillard and Aldridge, then there are a few special ones out there.
Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Bill Walton, Geoff Petrie, Maurice Lucas, and Lionel Hollins are some of the first names that come to mind. However, the likes of Larry Weinberg, Dave Twardzik, Larry Steele, Bob Gross, and Lloyd Neal all deserve to be on our list as well.