The 2013-2014 season has been a roller coaster ride for Rip City. After reaching the top of the tough Western Conference early in the season, the Portland Trail Blazers fell to the fifth spot and they also saw their chances to make it to the top reducing. The Blazers entered the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs as the underdogs in their matchups against the Houston Rockets but they managed to eliminate them after six games. Now, they are being dominated by the veteran group of the San Antonio Spurs and their playoff trip might soon reach its end.
However, despite the failure to top the San Antonio Spurs, a task that is of course very difficult for any team around the league, the Blazers’ course during the 2013-2014 campaign is anything but bad. In fact, even if Rip City exits the playoffs in the second round, the entire city should feel proud about this team. After everything, the Blazers have gone through and after all those top-player severe injuries, Portland has found a way to turn things around.
In addition, the future looks really bright for this team, given that it has now found the Big Three around which it can build. Damian Lillard showcased his leadership skills not just during the playoffs but even throughout the regular season. The versatile point guard has already reached a superstar level and he is just 23 years old. He and LaMarcus Aldridge are under contract for the next season, with the Blazers holding a team option, which will most probably exercise for the season after and also a qualifying offer for the 2015 – 2016 season. Nicolas Batum is also under contract till the end of the 2015 – 2016 season but what is even more important is the fact that something seems to be changing in Rip City.
The Blazers are finally starting to find their way to success and whilst they still haven’t formed an elite team, they are certainly on the right track. Portland has found its new franchise face, in Damian Lillard and also a truly capable star veteran, in LaMarcus Aldridge, who might just be the perfect fit alongside Lillard. Nicolas Batum is the third wheel of the Blazers’ engine and several analysts compare them to the San Antonio Spurs, stating that the Blazers are a younger version of San Antonio. I couldn’t agree more with this statement and I would go a step further, stating that Damian Lillard will soon have the same essence to Rip City like Kobe Bryant has to the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, he is that good.
So, summing up, there is absolutely no reason for Blazers fans to feel disappointed with their favorite team this year. The Blazers did what they had to do. They went as far as they could. Now, the fun part begins, as the team will try to further improve during the postseason. We should all expect the Blazers to stay in the forefront of the NBA for the next seasons.