But really, what’s new…?!
Year after year, the Portland Trail Blazers are continually doubted in the heavy-hitting Western Conference.
In 2015-2016, Portland was projected to win 26.5 games. That season, the Trail Blazers won 44 game.
Portland was projected to lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, and then look what happened…
In the 2018-2019 preseason, Portland was projected to finish 10th in the West. That season, the Trail Blazers met with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
CJ McCollum remembers that.
All this to say, screw projections. The Trail Blazers will just use that doubt as motivation.
This upcoming 2020-2021 season is no different - despite acquiring Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter and re-signing Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood - the Trail Blazers were picked to finish outside the top eight teams in the West and miss out on the playoffs, according to ESPN.
And McCollum was sure to send this along to Damian Lillard.
The Trail Blazers may just shock the world (again).
This upcoming season, Lillard told President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, “Let’s go for it.”
“For me it's just, you know, let's give ourselves a real shot,” Lillard said during a Zoom media conference on Monday. “‘You know I want it all.’ And I've been transparent with him about that.
“You know, just the fact that we've done everything. I've been swept a few times, we've been out in the first round, we've been in the second round, we've been to the Western Conference Finals -- you know we've got a lot of experience as an organization since I've been here.
“Highs and lows.
“We created a great culture. You know, I think we've done just about everything except win it all. And I feel like we had, you know, maybe two teams -- one or two teams -- that it was realistic for us to go and do it."
And with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the backcourt, Robert Covington and Derrick Jones in the front court with big man Jusuf Nurkic and a loaded bench with first-ballot Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony in the mix... what's not to love about the Blazers chances?
Portland is projected to win 40.5 games in the shortened 72-game season, provided by our partner PointsBet.
Equally, the Pelicans are only expected to win 35 games and the Suns 38.5 games.
The Trail Blazers will begin to (once again) prove the doubters wrong beginning on Friday, December 11 for preseason action against the Sacramento Kings on NBC Sports Northwest.
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