The Portland Trail Blazers surprised the NBA world early into the 2013 – 2014 season thanks to their achievement to make it to the top of the highly competitive Western Conference. Although they stayed at the No.1 spot for a short period of time and eventually finished the season at the fifth spot, they made their presence felt as soon as the 2014 NBA Playoffs began. Rip City managed to knock the Houston Rockets out of the competition after six games although the Rockets entered the series as the favorites.
In the second round, the Blazers faced major troubles fighting against the veteran group of the San Antonio Spurs. In this series, the Blazers’ inexperience and all the flaws of their game were clearly exposed. Nonetheless, Rip City did show some great signs and as it now seems, they will be a team to watch for the next few seasons.
The Portland Trail Blazers have now found their new face of the franchise, which is no one else than Damian Lillard. Whilst he is just 23, Lillard has already made it to the list of the elite point guards in the NBA and his constantly getting better. Apart from his scoring, dribbling and shooting skills, Lillard has proved that he is a born leader, an ultra-clutch player.
The second superstar of the team, LaMarcus Aldridge finally saw his career getting revamped, after battling through injuries for an extended period of time. Aldridge now seems to be the perfect fit alongside Lillard and the two of them combine on the offensive end to form Portland’s one-two punch.
The third wheel of Rip City’s motor, Nicolas Batum, has also improved his game and he has emerged as a solid contributor for the Blazers, not just on the offensive end but on defense, too. Portland also managed to bring form a great supporting cast to their Big Three, with Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez and Mo Williams being the most significant role players.
No matter how far the Blazers’ course this year is, the fact is that they are an emerging team in the West and they will most probably protagonist in the NBA during the next few seasons. Most of the players of the core of the team are under contract for at least one more season and that will give them the opportunity to build even more chemistry and find the ways to utilize their strengths as a unit.
With Damian Lillard getting better and better, it should be certain that Portland will emerge as a powerhouse next season or the one after, if it manages to keep its current core and many add a few missing pieces. After a long time of grief about former top draft picks who whose careers were doomed by severe injuries, Rip City can now be optimistic about its future. The better days are ahead and hopefully the team will find even more success next season.