The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the most pleasant surprises in the NBA in the 2013-14 season. After missing the playoffs last year, the Blazers came out this season and, for quite a while, were the best in the elite Western Conference, boasting the best offense on the league and putting up downright ridiculous scoring numbers.
However, the tides have been turning for quite a while now with Portland and it’s possible that it might be time to panic. With five weeks remaining in the regular season, the Trail Blazers are now in the fifth seed in the West and, with a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night, are now just 4.5 games ahead of the nine seed and missing the playoffs.
Since Jan. 21, the Trail Blazers have played 26 games and have accrued a measly 12-14 record over that time. While you could call that an anomaly and a possible slump, there have been extremely troubling signs, particularly within Portland’s offense.
Over that timeframe, the Blazers have been averaging 105 points per 100 possessions. Though that’s not terrible, it’s far from their once league-leading offense and is just the 13th best offensive rating in the NBA in that span. Moreover, the Blazers’ true shooting percentage has dipped 2.1 percent over that time. Their offense simply hasn’t been knocking down the shots or putting up the numbers that they were early in the year.
I still believe the Trail Blazers are a near-lock to make the postseason, but their recent performance begs the question “what then?” With how their offense was performing at the start of the season, you could have made the argument that they were one of the more dangerous playoff teams out there. Now they seem like a team that could possibly be swept if their offense doesn’t show more consistency and pick back up. Obviously getting LaMarcus Aldridge healthy is vital to that happening, but there’s warranted concern for this team coming into the last five weeks of the regular season and coming into the playoffs.