Under new head coach Chauncey Billups, Trail Blazers near league-worst defence still a cause for concern
Thursday night’s 114-83 loss to the Spurs snapped the Trail Blazers’ 10-game winning streak at home. They are now 10-2 at home but it’s their dismal road record of 1-10 that’s really pulling their overall record down.
After Thursday’s five-game slate, Portland is ninth in the West with a 11-12 record under their new coaching staff led by Chauncey Billups.
While the former NBA Champion and Finals MVP had much to say coming into the job regarding how the team would change but about a quarter of the way into the 2021-22 season, the team is still facing and attempting to overcome the same issue which has dogged them for the past few years.
After 23 games, their defensive rating of 111.8 is ranked 28th in the league which only slots them above the Memphis Grizzlies (29th) and the New Orleans Pelicans.
This dismal play on one end of the floor often times reverses the impact of the offence, which is not only ranked in the Top 10 this season but has featured among the league’s best over the past few seasons.
|Season||Defensive Rating (Rank)||Offensive Rating (Rank)|
|2019-20||114.3 (27th)||113.2 (3rd)|
|2020-21||115.3 (29th)||117.1 (2nd)|
|2021-22 (23 games)||111.8 (28th)||110.4 (8th)|
It’s all gone downhill, as illustrated by the table above, since the 2017-18 season when they finished with the sixth-best defensive rating in the league.
A failure to turn things around, especially on that end of the floor over the past couple of seasons, among other things led to the mutual separation after nine years between the team and former head coach Terry Stotts.
However, nothing seems to have changed under the new head coach. It’s still early on, but a team with the kind of talent at their disposal should not and can’t be ranking that low on the league’s standings for defence.
They allow their opponents to score 110.2 points per game, which is ranks them 24th in the league. They rank at the near bottom of the rankings for 3-point defence, allowing an average of 13.7 3-pointers per game (27th) at an efficiency of 38.1 percent (28th).
These overall defensive numbers seem to plummet even further to a league-worst 119.1 when they play on the road, a huge reason for their abysmal 1-10 record away from the Moda Center.
For the team to make any legitimate postseason run, led by their All-NBA talent in Damian Lillard, their effort and performance on that end of the floor needs to see an uptick.
Otherwise, they might extend their NBA-best active playoff streak but will remain in the bottom half with just first-round exits to their name to show for.