You look at this season's Portland Trail Blazers and this team's expected win total of 49 is placed perfectly by odds makers. The Blazers have been a team with a very strong starting 5 but possessed a very weak bench. Will the Trail Blazers surpass the 49 or even 50 win plateau as our betting pick?
Portland has been a consistently above average but not elite team whether they've had J.J. Hickson at the center position in the past and now Robin Lopez. When a team usually reaches 45 to 50 wins per season, it affects their spot in the NBA Draft, making it difficult to acquire an elite player.Portland has always had one of the top starting 5's in the NBA, but their bench has prevented them from taking the next step in the post-season.
Point guard, Damian Lillard, has been the exception to the rule. Portland picked him up as the 6th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and he's been the leader of this team. Aside from participating in every event at the All-Star Challenge, Lillard is a guard that can do it all.
He's an efficient scorer, a premiere passer, and Lillard is also a good rebounder for his size. Lillard can also deliver the much needed 3-ball and lastly he shoots in the upper 80 percentile in free throw shooting when a game can be on the line. There is no weakness to Lillard's game and the Portland Trail Blazers can build around him
Portland has picked up veteran Steve Blake as Lillard's backup. This is a perfect acquisition as Blake is a big money player that knows his role. I talked about Portland's weak bench. With Steve Blake on the team, it has improved in a major way.
Good point guards are usually each respective team's leader, but I don't want to slight what LaMarcus Aldridge can do for the Blazers on the inside.
This is a player in the prime of his career and has everything that a team wants in a star player. He's massive in stature at 6 foot 11, 240 pounds, has a soft touch, can penetrate to the basket quite easily and is most importantly a team player.
Aldridge makes other players around him better. Last season he averaged an eye-popping 23.2 points and 11 rebounds per game. If you don't want to look at Lillard as the leader of the this team, just consider them both 1a and 1b.
Native Frenchmen Nicolas Batum is the perfect complimentary player on the Blazers much like his fellow countryman Tony Parker is to Tim Duncan. When Portland is having an off-game and the shot isn't falling, it's usually players like Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews that are there to carry this team.
Batum is very unselfish, but on those day's in which he's feeling it, he can put up 30 points and carry the Blazers with his energy alone. Look for a monster season from Batum. His game has grown as he's entering his prime as a basketball player.
Brook Lopez's Brother?
Center Robin Lopez has always been labeled this as he's the inferior player where siblings are concerned, but lately Lopez is starting to catch up to his twin.While Brook has been injured for Brooklyn, Robin has improved his game greatly and is becoming a legitimate starting center in this league.
Last season, Lopez had his best season as a pro, averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. Lopez also shoots over 50% from the field and 80% from the charity stripe. To be frank, Robin Lopez is a much better rebounder and has more of an inside presence defensively than his brother. Look for a similar season out of Lopez as he'll have to sacrifice a bit of playing time to newly acquired Chris Kaman.
Portland has been making the correct off-season moves and along with Steve Blake, they have also picked up Chris Kaman from the Los Angeles Lakers. This is a great acquisition. When Kaman is healthy, he's a double figure scorer (dependent upon playing time) and takes control of the paint. Portland has made the necessary moves to contend with the elite teams in the NBA.
As I've stated in many of my articles, Portland's starting 5 is one of the best in the NBA. WIth the acquisitions of Steve Blake and Chris Kaman, this team will blow past the 49 win mark and be an "under the radar" contender for the NBA Title. For your NBA picks, I suggest you look at them with future bets because their NBA odds should be quite appealing.
NBA Pick: Portland Over 49 Wins at 5Dimes