As many of you may know, media day was held Monday during which certain players and personnel were not shying away from playoff talk.
Damian Lillard, Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts were all quoted talking about playoff expectations:
OregonLive.com’s Sean Meagher posted this video of Lillard and here is what he had to say about this being a playoff team:
“I think so. I definitely think we have the pieces to do it. It’s just a matter of us putting it together on the floor.”
In another OregonLive.com report, Stotts was quoted saying, “Expectations are the playoffs, and beyond.”
Olshey was also asked if this was a playoff team, he had this to say:
“I don’t see why it wouldn’t be… I think we’re talented enough, the way our core four players played last year, supported by the new additions, they’re going to give us a great chance.”
The “core four” players that Olshey was referring to are LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, whom will all return as starters this season.
A long list of new additions makes for a whole new bench and a new starting center. Robin Lopez, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright, Mo Williams, C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Earl Watson were all additions this offseason.
These moves transform this team from the worst bench in the league to one of the deeper teams. Olshey did a phenomenal job building this roster this offseason without giving up many assets. There is a reason why playoff talk is not far-fetched in the team’s mind.
The core four are going to come in and compete just like they have since day one. As long as everyone comes in with the same mindset, which has been the case in training camp, then there is no reason why this team won’t be in the playoffs when it’s all said and done.
All I’ve been hearing from reports on training camp is defense, defense and defense. This is music to my ears. With Lopez, this team will be able to focus more on the defensive end. Having a big-bodied center to clog the lane and work around will be a huge improvement this year for Portland.
This is now a team with the mindset of wanting to work and wanting to get to the playoffs. This is a team with a newfound focus on defense and an improved bench. The Blazers will surprise some people this season. Right now, I have them as a 6-8 seed in the Western Conference. Fans have a reason to be excited for the 2013-14 season.