5 More Issues Facing the Trail Blazers as the NBA Season Begins

The Portland Trail Blazers’ 2022-23 NBA time table opens this night as they face the Sacramento Kings at 7:00PM, Pacific. This will probably be the first development block in their 82-game marketing campaign, however rarely the maximum vital. The Blazers have larger fish to fry as they search a go back to relevance in the NBA’s Western Conference. They input the yr with a couple of open problems. The identical dynamic low season that unfolded hope additionally disrupted the formerly-placid roster. Once upon a time that you must depend on the Blazers for sustained mediocrity. This yr? It may cross both approach.

Earlier lately we shared 5 giant problems going through the group as the season problems. Here are 5 extra keys on which the destiny of the season in the long run hinges.

Jusuf Nurkic’s Stamina

As we stated in our ultimate put up, Portland’s protection didn’t glance nice in preseason motion. One of the by-products of that was once them hitting the emergency button ownership after ownership. The man on the different finish of that alarm is heart Jusuf Nurkic. Need any individual to change onto a guard? Call Nurk. Lost your dribbler someplace in the lane? Call Nurk. Need a rotation so a ahead can cross out and canopy the arc? Dial 1-800-Hey-Nurk!

To his credit score, Nurkic is sport to check out it all. But he’s no longer supplied to do all the ones issues even on his very best days. If he’s fatigued or injured, you’ll be able to go maximum of them off the checklist. And it most effective takes 8-10 mins of working round the flooring like a madman, THEN having to get the rebound as a result of no one else neatly, sooner than Nurkic is drained.

Nurk has to stick in pristine bodily form to live to tell the tale the season. Otherwise we’re more likely to see him get as many blended fouls and turnovers as rebounds. With the loss of intensity in the back of him, that’s going to be a large deal for the Blazers.

Super Shaedon?

Rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe made a dash in preseason, a minimum of when he were given good enough mins and touches. Lack of enjoy goes to stay him clear of giant mins at the get started of the season, however the Blazers will financial institution closely on his construction. Not most effective is he a possible one-on-everybody scoring gadget, he has superhuman athleticism and a nostril for cover. That’s handy, as Portland lacks each.

Sharpe is extra of a long term hope than a gift panacea, but when the Blazers can get 12-Quarter-hour out of him right through the 2nd part of the season, they’d be lots satisfied.


Chauncey Billlups owns a 27-55 document to this point as a head trainer. Pinning all the ones losses on him could be unfair. Last yr’s roster slightly certified as NBA-caliber. But that still signifies that Billups has most effective coached a real NBA roster for roughly 20 video games. In essence, that is his rookie season.

The Blazers will face a steep studying curve this yr, if not anything else as a result of all their gamers out of doors of Nurkic and Damian Lillard are taking part in new roles. Billups will wish to combine, repair, fit, and therapeutic massage like knowledgeable. That’s a difficult ask when actually not anything he’s attempted to this point has labored.

How efficient Billups turns into at rallying his group, getting them pointed in the proper path, and incomes their buy-in to his machine will probably be a crucial tale this season. He doesn’t need to have all the solutions, however he can’t determine all of them out on the fly both. The season will probably be down the disposal sooner than he has time to enforce a 2nd or 3rd wager. If this becomes some other misplaced yr, the Blazers gained’t have nice knowledge on subsequent summer time’s selections, together with whether or not to retain their beginning forwards. Billups and his gamers wish to get it proper, and briefly.

Three-Point Shooting

The Blazers glance glossy, new, and a minimum of semi-exciting at just about each and every place. New blood is their nice hope this yr. But with the changeover in group of workers, they face a probably giant factor at the arc.

Gone are the days when Portland sported three-point shooters at just about each and every place however heart, working that ability deep into the bench.

The league moderate for three-point taking pictures in 2020-21 was once 36.9%. It dipped to 34.2% in 2021-22, a low aberration. It’d be truthful to name 36% round moderate, 38% or upper considerably above.

The Blazers have two—depend them, two—gamers who qualify for moderate or upper three-point taking pictures in accordance with ultimate yr’s numbers. Josh Hart shot 37.3%. Anfernee Simons registered a completely fabulous 40.5% price from the arc. Everybody else fell brief.

It’d be cheap to think that Damian Lillard’s career-low 32.4% three-point proportion will upward thrust once more in opposition to his same old 37-38%, however although that’s true, you will have Lillard and Hart simply north of NBA moderate, Simons neatly above it, and… no longer a lot else.

Hart and Jerami Grant will undoubtedly get open seems to be from the arc. They’ll wish to hit early and ceaselessly. Jusuf Nurkic has been taking pictures lengthy too, however that experiment seems to be a gloomy failure.

Not stretching the protection with excellent three-point taking pictures could have a ripple impact on Portland’s offense. Opponents will crowd the lane, making it unimaginable to cross, put up, or penetrate cleanly. At that time the assault will devolve into passes round the perimeter with guards taking deep photographs off of isolation-dribbles. If that occurs, you’ll be able to exchange the clarion trumpets of the vintage Blazers TV theme with unhappy trombones.

The Blazers want a number of gamers to up their taking pictures sport briefly and persistently, lest Lillard and Simons in finding themselves forcing makes an attempt with defenders draped far and wide them whilst teammates watch, helpless.


Each query offered lately takes on further urgency whilst you imagine the Blazers will input the season amid a hailstorm of potent combatants. They’ll draw the Phoenix Suns 3 times of their first 9 video games, with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers additionally populating their first 20 outings. It’s like taking a calculus check that you simply’re no longer positive you’re able for whilst a brigade of circus clowns pelts you with exploding, cream-filled porcupines. This goes to be arduous.

There’s a non-zero likelihood that the Blazers can’t make sufficient changes to deliver them a profitable document in the first month or two of the yr. Their profitable streaks may get started overdue, or certainly not. That would sap the self assurance from gamers and training group of workers of their new construction and in each and every different.

Momentum is a fantastic factor when it’s going with you. Against you, it’s an actual ache. We’ll wish to see which approach it is going for the Blazers out of the gates, and what sort of that’ll impact their esprit de corps going ahead.

Stay with us right through the day as we proceed marching in opposition to the first sport of the new season!

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