NBA 2019-20: 3 Western Conference teams that could disappoint next season
The NBA’s Eastern Conference may no longer be the 'Leastern Conference' but the Western Conference looks to be gearing up for another tight playoff battle.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors have taken major steps back but both teams can be competitive. As the NBA season prepares to begin in over a month, every team but Memphis and Phoenix can make a credible argument for how they could reach the postseason. Inevitably, some teams will disappoint.
So who are going to be those unfortunate teams? Note that I am not asserting that these teams will definitely fail to make the playoffs. But here are a few teams who people seem to assume will make the playoffs who could find themselves facing a very unpleasant surprise.
#3 Portland Trail Blazers
Yes, the Trail Blazers made the Western Conference Finals. Yes, it seems like they are constantly underestimated by the rest of the NBA. Yes, Damian Lillard is ridiculously good.
But there are a couple of factors which should make the ever-loyal and fanatical Blazers fans nervous. The Blazers have been lacking in wing depth for the past few years and are now thinner and smaller than ever after losing Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless, both at 6'9, while getting the 6'5 Kent Bazemore in return.
In fact, Portland’s depth is very shaky. They have six guys in Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Kent Bazemore, Zach Collins, and Hassan Whiteside. But who is their backup point guard or big man? Are they really planning to depend on Mario Hezonja or Pau Gasol’s?
Despite their Western Conference Finals appearance, FiveThirtyEight gives the Blazers only a 34% chance of making the playoffs, below Minnesota and New Orleans. And while Portland will be stronger in the playoffs just because Jusuf Nurkic should be back at that point, this team needs more contributors to last for 82 games.