- The Portland Trail Blazers reached the Western Conference finals last season, but are struggling out of the gate with a 4-8 record
- Damian Lillard and co. just dropped a back-to-back to the Sacramento Kings and a shorthanded Toronto Raptors squad
- Are their fading odds to win the Northwest Division a new reality in the stacked West, or will they prove to be contenders once again?
Northwest NBA Divisional odds have just shifted. The Portland Trail Blazers are in an early freefall, dropping to fourth in the division after their loss to Sacramento last night.
Currently, online sportsbooks have deflated their chances to win the Northwest Division to +1600. Will Lillard, CJ McCollum and the supporting cast get back on track to make another run at the Western Conference Finals as they did last season, or will they fall off the map entirely?
2019-20 NBA Northwest Division Odds
|Portland Trail Blazers||+1600|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+5000|
Odds taken Nov. 13th
Dame & CJ Not Enough
Lillard put on an offensive clinic on Friday, Nov. 8th against the Brooklyn Nets. He set a franchise record with a career-high 60 point outburst in the contest; however, the tally came in Portland’s fourth consecutive loss.
It’s definitely not a good sign when your best player goes-off for 60, and you still lose.
Lillard has been putting up huge numbers in the Trail Blazers’ first 11 games. He’s averaging 32.5 points per game, 6.6 assists per game and 5.1 rebounds per game for seemingly nothing.
Meanwhile, McCollum is doing his thing as well with 20.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 3.0 APG. Portland’s two-best players are averaging over 50 points per night, and that normally equates to wins in the NBA. What’s the problem?
Damian Lillard finishes w/ 60 points vs. Nets.
– New career-high (59)
– New Blazers franchise record (59)
– Joins Booker, Harden, LeBron, Klay & Kemba as only active players w/ 60-point game
– His 6th career 50-point game (franchise record, tied for 3rd among active players) pic.twitter.com/sYkEIoWKLd
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 9, 2019
Denver, Utah Are Teams to Beat
The Blazers’ chances to contend in the Northwest Division are dwindling. Down 3-2 in their 2019 NBA Playoff series, Portland upset the Denver Nuggets (7-3) in Game 7 of the West semifinals on Denver’s home-floor at Pepsi Center. Their prize? Getting swept 4-0 in the 2019 Western Conference Finals by the Golden State Warriors.
With Golden State a shell of themselves this season, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for the Blazers to step into the limelight? Yes, it would. The only problem is the extremely stacked and talented Western Conference before our eyes. Forget everyone else in the conference, the Nuggets are the defending Northwest Division champs. Oddsmakers are grouping Denver with the Utah Jazz as favorites to win it this season at +110.
That's what you do when you're the BEST CENTER IN THE LEAGUE!!! pic.twitter.com/xX3HLsqdt7
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 9, 2019
The Nuggets have a deeper and improved roster this year, Utah is sneaky-good from top to bottom and the Minnesota Timberwolves are playing well behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Portland needs to figure things out fast, or they’re in trouble. Pretty soon, we’ll be calling them pretenders.
Blazers Too Banged Up
Roster moves have had their impact on Portland as well. Most notably, Kent Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside have underperformed as new additions.
One would think that these dudes would give Portland a little more juice. However, in the NBA, team chemistry is instrumental. Right now, the Blazers don’t have it. It’s beginning to look like the loss of Mo Harkless, an energetic and gritty role player from a year ago, is a huge void.
Shaq ripping Hassan Whiteside to shreds ? pic.twitter.com/Q31ZoFM7qX
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) November 8, 2019
From an injury standpoint, Portland is without the services of Zach Collins. Recently undergoing surgery on his left labrum, Collins won’t be re-evaluated until early March. After several wonderful performances in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, his lack of presence is certainly being felt.
I don’t see the Trail Blazers shaking up the team with a big trade this season. If Portland can’t get things rolling soon, it’s a long kiss goodnight.
My Pick: Denver Nuggets (+110)