The Trailblazers were a good surprise when they were thought to be one of the teams fighting to get into the 2013 playoffs but instead finished at the top of the conference. The emergence of their rookie guard Damien Lillard and his ability to play alongside their star forward Lamarcus Aldridge helped them work their way up the rankings in the western conference. The team looked poised to keep position as one of the top teams until injuries haunted them all of the 2014-15 season. Right now in the first round of the playoffs they are behind 0-2 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Arron Afflalo, Chris Kamen, Wesley Mathews and Dorrell Wright are all injured. Aldridge is battling a thumb injury and their young guard McCollum and do it all forward Batum are at best a few weeks removed from injury.
Lamarcus Aldridge, Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez and Wesley Mathews 3 of which have been pivotal to their success and one who was acquired to take them over the hump at the trade deadline are all destined to become free agents after this season. Aldridge has been linked to multiple teams and is thought to be bolting as soon as the season ends although nobody has confirmed that these rumors are true. Arron Afflalo and Wesley Mathews are both highly coveted shooting guards in a league where 2-way shooting guards are hard to come by.
S0, what does that mean for the Trailblazers? It means that the Blazers will be left with two players who have helped lead the team towards the top of the league. Nicolas Batum and of course Damien Lillard. Could these Blazers make the playoffs in the west next year with 4 big time players leaving their roster? With the Pelicans improving every year and the Thunder more likely than not having a healthy core and we can’t forget about the rising kings on the shoulders of Demarcus Cousins it seems like the Trailblazers might be the odd man out.