There are quite a few bad teams in the NBA. To list all of them would be cumbersome, but to list the worst team in the Western Conference is easy: the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland went from a very promising franchise in the 2010-11 season with talent such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, Wesley Matthews, Armon Johnson and Andre Miller, to a franchise everyone was trying to get away from.
The destruction of the Blazers could have started when the 2007 No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden only played 82 games in five seasons. If the center’s injuries weren’t enough, Roy — an explosive player many thought was a top 20 player in the league — retired early because his knees couldn’t hack NBA game play anymore.
The Blazers tried to hang on to their promise by singing Jamal Crawford, but the amount of bad trades and players leaving because of free agency were just too much for the foundation to stay strong. Portland finished 28-38 for fourth in the Northwest Division and was only seven games above the last place team in the west — the New Orleans Hornets. This season, the Trail Blazers will be at the bottom of the basement.
Aldridge, Matthews and Batum are still on the team but they’re surrounded by unproven players, whether it’s rookies projected to start in Myers Leonard and Damian Lillard or guys who just haven’t gotten it done in the past — J.J. Hickson, Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price or Sasha Pavlovic.
Honestly, this roster is one of the worst rosters I’ve seen in recent history and should land the Trail Blazers at the bottom of the Northwest Division.
I’m sure the Los Angeles Clippers would love to put them there.
Above, I listed Aldridge, Johnson and Batum as talented players, and they all are. However, Aldridge is an All-Star caliber player while the other two talents are simply starter worthy. Aldridge is definitely a top seven power forward and could probably find himself in the top five somewhere.
There is no doubt in my mind the Clippers’ Blake Griffin is a top five power forward right now.
With that said, in a match up between the Clippers and the Blazers, Griffin and Aldridge would wipe each other. Twenty points and 10 rebounds a night can easily be linked with both players and both will help their teams in other similar ways such as help defense and running the floor.
Then the Blazers fail to be placed alongside the Clippers in any conversation.
Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league and is a top five player in ESPN’s top 500 list. Well, at least I haven’t seen his name on the list yet. Lillard was a solid college player, but a green Weber State guy can’t stand up to a year-in and year-out NBA All-Star such as Paul.
Chauncey Billups is a great shooter and a major force defensively. If he comes back healthy, which I’ve read he is, Matthews has to come with his A-game when playing the Clippers.
Batum is a better shooter than Caron Butler, but Butler does everything else better such as score in the interior, rebound, defend and make the extra pass.
As an Illinois citizen, I heard a lot about Leonard’s game before he even played a college game at the University of Illinois. After watching him, I feel he could be a capable center, but I’d still put DeAndre Jordan’s physical attributes he uses on defensive above Myers offensive low-post game.
This is simple: the bench isn’t even close. LA’s Grant Hill, Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford — who smartly signed with the Clips — are leaps and bounds better than the Blazers.
Hopefully, I’m wrong and the Blazers are not the worst team in the league, but I know I’m right about the Clippers being able to defeat Portland. Aldridge can only do so much, while the Clippers have a full team of more than capable players.