After winning a close game against the Toronto Raptors, the Portland Trail Blazers now have a record of 7-8 and hold the ninth position in the Western Conference. In the last few games, the Blazers have shown signs of making a comeback and pursue their hopes of booking a playoff berth at the end of the regular season.
There is a simple reason behind it, Damian Lillard is slowly but surely getting back into his groove. But with new rules and a new ball, Dame took his sweet time in adjusting to it. He even called the new foul-rule changes simply unacceptable. But as the season is progressing, he is looking more and more comfortable.
Even if that is the case, it is hard to see the Blazers make a deep playoff run in the postseason this season. The gap between them and the rest of the team seems a tad bit too wide.
So should the Blazers try to get a superstar? No. They have tried that for years, but have failed in doing so. The best option for them is to approach the Phoenix Suns' blueprint for becoming a contender. Damian Lillard spoke about it in an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. He revealed:
"If you look at Phoenix, they don’t have a bunch of stars. They got people who are really good at what they do and understand their roles. Chris Paul and Devin Booker are All-Stars, but Deandre Ayton is a quality center, Jae Crowder is an experienced, quality stretch-four man that’s tough, Cam Johnson is nice and Mikal Bridges is my favorite small forward in the league. You just look at how that team is put together and they’re in the Finals coming out of the West. That’s what my vision is.
“I don’t see us just landing star players. I’m Dame Lillard, and C.J. is C.J. McCollum. We have the core pieces to do the same thing that Phoenix did. It’s just how you fill that in. We just got on the same page. Me, Chauncey and Neil. We all spoke and we got on the same page as far as what my thoughts were and how I feel like we can win it. That was good enough for me. I had trust in that. But, we’ll see. They can’t guarantee me anything and I can’t guarantee anything to them, but we got on the same page.”
The core pieces have been there for the Blazers for quite some time now. But they are yet to use their core players to their full extent and turn the franchise around as the Phoenix Suns did.
Maybe they will do it this season. There are still a lot of games left in the 2021-22 season and Lillard is finally getting back in form as well.