Damian Lillard had quite a rookie season for the Portland Trail Blazers. But when observers look at the entire team, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of talent, which makes it even more head-scratching that this team finished at 33-49 in the NBA.
Coach Terry Stotts’ job isn’t on the line, at least not yet. But, Portland has so many tools this season that one is wondering what can happen next year.
Obviously, injuries took its toll late in the season and players like Wesley Matthews weren’t always available. That definitely hurt the Blazers, who needed guys like Matthews to help the squad in its playoff run.
Matthews wound up with 14.8 points. 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in his fourth season as a guard. His points per game average was fine, but he could not help the team in other areas. It would help next year if he could get his assists up from his 1.9 career average mark.
What the Blazers will look for Matthews next year is slightly better defense and more care of the ball on offense. He averaged 1.6 turnovers and 1.3 steals per game last season. His career marks are at 1.4 turnovers and 1.2 steals per game.
Portland will also need Matthews to put up a higher steals per game average over his turnovers. That would be a major boost in the team’s hopes of going to the playoffs. Without him, they can forget it. He gives too much to the team for them to be effective with him out of the lineup.
If Matthews can stay healthy, that would also really help. Playing a full 82-game schedule would be to both his and his team’s benefit.