First Round Foes – Why Blazers fans should want the Spurs
The Kawhi Leonard saga
Trouble in San Antonio’s basketball paradise? Will Kawhi Leonard get back on the floor for the Spurs?
The Kawhi Leonard saga has taken over the Spurs’ season. Just this week, there have been reports that teams around the league will be inquiring about trading for Leonard at the end of the season.
And, why not?
There’s seems to be something else going on with the 26 year-old small forward then just his quad injury. Leonard has played in only nine games this season due to his ongoing rehab. He hasn’t been in the Spurs lineup since January 13th, despite being cleared to play by team doctors.
So, if Portland faces off with the Spurs in the first round, there are two things to keep in mind...
This is a totally different Spurs team without Kawhi
First, San Antonio is obviously a much different team without the 2-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year. And second, it’s likely San Antonio’s on-court chemistry has taken a hit after Kawhi was rumored to return last month only to continue to sit out.
If Kawhi can’t return for the start of the playoffs, this would certainly give their opponent a huge boost. If Kawhi does come back, Portland fans should hope to avoid a playoff matchup with the Spurs.
Blazer fans would relish in a first round playoff victory over San Antonio
LaMarcus Aldridge leaving the Portland Trail Blazers will be something that Blazer fans will probably never forget. Aldridge signed a free-agent deal with the Spurs in 2015 after spending his entire career in Portland.
A great majority of Rip City has not yet forgiven Aldridge for leaving the Blazers franchise in his prime for a San Antonio Spurs team heralded for its championship culture.
But now, the tables have turned.
This season the Spurs are battling just to make the playoffs, while Portland holds a 3-game lead for the third spot in the West.
And, just a reminder: Portland reached the playoffs in each of the final two seasons Aldridge and Damian Lillard played together, and the Blazers made it to the second round in 2013-14.
So we have to wonder, in the upcoming 2017-18 playoffs, would Lillard be out for revenge if Portland played San Antonio?
Quick statistical lowdown
Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 23.3 points, 8.4 rebounds.
Point guard matchup…
Damian Lillard is averaging 26.7 points and 6.6 assists this season.
Dejounte Murray is averaging 7.8 points and 2.8 assists.
Other players to watch…
Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds this season.
Pau Gasol is averaging 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds.
What is the local media saying about this potential postseason matchup?
I want San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard remains a question mark and now LaMarcus Aldridge is dealing with an injury. The Spurs are a shell of what they used to be-- Aging roster that lacks speed at the guard position. I think Dame and CJ would feast on the Spurs defense-- Probably a five-game series with the Blazers advancing.
-- This is why NBCS Northwest and Rip City Radio 620 host Chad Doing would want to see the Blazers play the Pelicans in the playoffs.