This year was the same old story with the Portland Trail Blazers. They made a couple of interesting moves to try and fix their defense, and they didn't. Damian Lillard willed them into the playoffs, and his teammates let him down. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
It's clear that the Blazers need to make some big changes if they don't want to lose their superstar. Terry Stotts may have coached his final game last night after they dropped a first-round series vs. the Denver Nuggets, and CJ McCollum could also be on the move.
When asked about whether the team should make some moves, Lillard was blunt and said that it's obvious that they're not good enough right now:
"Obviously where we are isn't good enough to win a championship if it's not good enough to get out of a first-round series with two of their best three or four players not on the floor," Lillard said, as quoted by Royce Young.
Lillard was clearly disappointed by the way the season ended. Nonetheless, as per usual, he owned it and didn't make up any excuses:
“We fought through a lot of injuries this season. We’ve had some adversities and stayed together like a true team does. we went to battle. we didn’t make excuses,” Lillard said in his postgame conference. “Like I said, (it’s a) disappointing end but we don’t hang our heads in those situations. We just came up short.”
The Blazers need to do a better job of surrounding Lillard with the talent he needs to win. McCollum is a very good player but his fit next to Lillard is still questionable, as is his ability to execute down the stretch.
Jusuf Nurkic was their defensive anchor - when healthy - but didn't seem too excited about coming back either, and their coaching situation is still up in the air.
It's going to be a very, very long offseason at RIP City.