NBA Season Preview: Portland Trail Blazers
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Camp Location:Trail Blazers Practice Facility, Portland, Ore.
Coach:Terry Stotts, ninth year, fifth with Trail Blazers; 297-314 overall.
Last Season:44-38, lost to Golden State in first round of playoffs.
Key Returnees:Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh, Pat Connaughton, Luis Montero.
Key Additions:Evan Turner (Boston), Festus Ezeli (Golden State), Jake Layman (rookie, Maryland), Shabazz Napier (Orlando), Tim Quarterman (rookie, Louisiana State), Greg Stiemsma (free agent), Grant Jerrett (free agent),
Key Losses:Gerald Henderson (Philadelphia), Brian Roberts (Charlotte), Chris Kaman (free agent), Cliff Alexander (Orlando).
Outlook:LaMarcus Aldridge bolted and the Trail Blazers had an inspiring season. It just goes to show that Terry Stotts is an underrated coach and Damian Lillard an underrated star. It also proved C.J. McCollum (Canton GlenOak HS) really is an up-and-comer, and was quite deserving of last season's Most Improved Player award. So how do the Blazers follow up? By landing unsung Evan Turner in free agency. Turner isn't a star, but he does play hard, play multiple roles and can defend opposing wings. Other than that, the Blazers should simply improve by natural growth from within. The good news? They've already proven they can do it.