The Portland Trail Blazers haven't started off the season on the right foot, currently with a 1-2 record. In their losses, they got beaten by two other Western Conference teams, the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Clippers. It is clear that they have a lot of work ahead of them.
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the league, and many would consider him a superstar. Like most stars, Damian Lillard has aspirations of winning a championship, and he's previously expressed that the Milwaukee Bucks winning a ring makes him want to achieve the same with the Trail Blazers "even more".
When speaking to Mark Medina recently, Damian Lillard expressed optimism at Portland's chances this season and reiterated his love for the organization. He also stated that the Trail Blazers could potentially look like a "completely different team" on offense and on defense, provided that they buy in to coach Chauncey Billups' system.
“I’m optimistic. I’m a believer,” Lillard said. “And I love this organization.”
The Trail Blazers (1-2) play the Memphis Grizzlies (2-1) Wednesday, only two days after losing to the LA Clippers by 30 points. Portland has nursed injuries to small forward Norman Powell (left knee) and shooting guard Tony Snell (right foot). And Lillard has averaged 17 points per game while shooting only 36% from the field and 8.3% from 3-point range — all far from his career averages of 24.6 ppg, 43.8% shooting and 37.4% on 3-pointers.
Not only have the Blazers chalked up these developments to a small sample size and early growing pains, Lillard has remained bullish that the team can be a championship contender this season.
“As long as we buy in,” Lillard said, “we could look like a completely different team on both ends of the floor.”
Lillard believes that buy-in will happen largely because of Billups’ presence.
It remains to be seen how far the Portland Trail Blazers will go this year, and most fans and analysts wouldn't consider them legitimate contenders for the title. With that being said, there have been unlikely champions in basketball, so it's not impossible for the Trail Blazers to make a miracle run, though it is highly improbable.
The Portland Trail Blazers will hope that the coaching switch and improved depth can help push them into that top-tier status. They've always been a solid regular-season team, but perhaps this is the year the Trail Blazers will manage to make a long run in the postseason.