Let’s do a quick walk through of what has changed from last season to this season for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland has added seven new players if you include Jaylen Hoard, who is on a two-way contract.
Of those seven new faces, two players are currently or have been dealing with an injury.
Are these excuses to why the Blazers haven’t looked like a real cohesive team in the preseason?
The Blazers are not making it an excuse.
The players are simply thankful they still have 11 days remaining in the preseason to work out the kinks and become more of unit working as one.
Kent Bazemore has been living in Portland for less than two months, but he already believes that the team understands what needs to get done to be successful this season.
It’ll take some time. But I think as far as everything being in line like our aspirations for the season, you know big picture, I think we’re all on the same page and it just takes time. It’s a new situation for a lot of guys. We’re plugging in some pretty big pieces, a totally different look from last year, so it’s just going to take some time and guys getting used to each other, the timing with everything, and learning the offense.
Being cohesive is a “work in progress” according to CJ McCollum:
A lot of it we’ve got to tighten up, guys have been banged up. Obviously, Rodney [Hood] didn’t play tonight. [Hassan] Whiteside being out of practice, so we’ve got to get together and get some good practices in these next 11 days, and get ready for the opener.
It’s not as if the new guys are not getting acclimated.
They feel cohesive in practice.
“In training camp practices you’re going to do everything right,” Damian Lillard said after Saturday’s loss. “You’re going to have guys that are going to be in the perfect potions because it’s being taught in practice over and over again – ‘get to the nail, get to the elbow,’ and then when you get to the game in the NBA it’s hard to have that carryover because now there’s a crowd, you’re playing against somebody, else. You know, you want to see what you can get away with and I think we just fell victim to that.”
Carryover, as well as getting everyone healthy and in rhythm, will indubitably be a key in becoming more of a cohesive team.
Lillard believes Saturday’s loss will be a big lesson for this team.
“It’s good that it happened and it doesn’t count against us, so we can see what happens when we don’t come out and do what we’ve been doing the entire time… It’s good to see how it went down tonight and then look at it, and watch film, and take what we need to take from it, and move forward -- just make sure that we don’t let this continue,“ Lillard said.
The Blazers will have a chance to not let this continue next week when they play Utah and Denver back to back.