Portland is in a weird position. Should the Trail Blazers compete to make the playoffs or use this year as a means to draft another player to help their core? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are in attendance at the Orlando bubble after both of them seemed unwilling when the resumption was first announced.
Last year, the Trail Blazers overachieved and reached the Western Conference Finals. With the same core this year, Lillard and co. are trying to make another push to the Conference Finals.
July 31 vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Win
Lillard wants to win a championship and has said multiple times that he wants to be a lifer in Portland. Lillard is one of the more clutch players in the fourth quarter and playoffs. This type of play will be shown throughout the remainder of this season as he will wield his team to the playoffs.
Aug. 2 vs. Boston Celtics: Loss
Lillard will not be able to carry Portland to victory here. The Celtics are just too talented to be taken down by one player. McCollum is a great player, but his defense will be exposed trying to contain the high-flying Jaylen Brown.
Aug. 4 vs. Houston Rockets: Loss
Russell Westbrook and James Harden will be tough to guard, but Westbrook might miss this game as he has recently tested positive for COVID-19. However, even with a chance of an absent Westbrook, McCollum will again be exposed against Harden.
Aug. 6 vs. Denver Nuggets: Loss
What would happen if Lillard slowed down and had an off night? The Trail Blazers would fumble throughout the game. The Nuggets are great defensively and will always have a great defender on Lillard. This leaves McCollum to lead the team and that’s not enough to command a victory.
Aug. 8 vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Win
Do not be fooled: the chance of the Clippers playing half their starters in this game is very high. With Kawhi Leonard on their roster, resting players has become very common. Lillard and McCollum will bounce back from their tough loss to the Nuggets.
Aug. 9 vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Win
There is no chemistry or backbone in Philadelphia. Everything seems to be tangled up. Lillard will use the disoriented 76ers roster and have a day. Do not be shocked if Lillard drops over 50 points in this game.
Aug. 11 vs. Dallas Mavericks: Loss
With a chance to claim a playoff spot, Portland will have to face Luka Doncic. With no elite defender on the team in Orlando, Doncic will torch the wings of this Portland team.
Aug. 13 vs. Brooklyn Nets: Loss
This ugly loss will demoralize the Portland Trail Blazers. A loss here could implement a draft lottery pick.
The Portland Trail Blazers will finish with a 3-5 record in Orlando. Without a strong defense, it will be hard to see the Blazers make the playoffs. All this team has to do is stay as the ninth seed and be within four games of the eighth seed. In such a scenario, the Trail Blazers will have a chance to make the playoffs if they win the play in-game.