|16 Overall||15 Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
LaMarcus Aldridge is making an All-Star case as the Blazers' new go-to guy. Marcus Camby remains a big-time rebounder and Nicolas Batum is improving.
The loss of franchise player Brandon Roy, who wasn't right when he was playing, hasn't been overcome. Andre Miller is solid but on the downside of his career.
Opponents shoot more than 46 percent, which hovers in the bottom third in the league. Also hurt by lack of a designated stopper, especially on the perimeter.
Wesley Matthews gave the team a boost off the bench before injuries moved him to the starting lineup. Rudy Fernandez and Dante Cunningham have been inconsistent.
Nate McMillan is presiding over a MASH unit once again. He's juggled the lineup and kept Portland in the playoff conversation, which is commendable.
The Blazers are basically a .500 team and that probably won't change if Roy remains out. There isn't a timetable on his return and missing the rest of the season is a distinct possibility. Losing center Greg Oden for another year has been another big blow.
The Rose Garden is still one of the league's best homecourt advantages, but Portland struggles on the road. The Blazers do rebound, especially on the offensive end, but they don't shoot it well. Matthews has quickly fit in, building on an impressive rookie campaign in Utah.
Overall talent, of the healthy variety, has been the biggest issue. Injuries just seem to be a recurring theme for McMillan's squad. Aldridge has stepped up in Roy's place, but the Blazers just don't have enough quality depth to contend in the West.
-- Art Garcia
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B+|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||B-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C+|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|