This has been a year to forget for the Portland Trail Blazers. An injury to Damian Lillard at the end of 2021 saw him miss the rest of the season, and they ended up finally splitting up their backcourt by trading away CJ McCollum to retool around Dame. Thanks to this, the Blazers have been poor for most of the season and they finished with the 6th worst record in the entire NBA.
Losing 55 games is not something Blazers fans have been used to in recent seasons, so the disappointment of the fans is palpable. But with the plan reportedly being to quickly rebuild around Lillard and hopefully compete for a championship, their misery might be ending sooner than expected. And Lillard promised better times ahead of the last game of the season, giving fans hope in a pre-game address.
“A tough season, a lot of adversity this year. A lot of things came up that we didn’t expect. But I want you to know one thing: this will not continue. Next year we’re gonna be back better than before.”
Lillard will be back and presumably at his best when the NBA returns next season and the Blazers will likely have added a few more pieces to help him, as his ambitions are to win a title. This should be a recipe that sees them get back to winning ways, but the Western Conference remains as stacked as ever, so major moves are necessary for the offseason.
Competing for the NBA championship is as difficult as ever in an era of highly talented stars across the league, but having Lillard on your team will always have a team in the conversation to win games. Some would argue that the Blazers have left it too late to make moves and build around Lillard considering that he is already 31, but things can change very quickly in the NBA.