Portland Trail Blazers Struggle with Offense
In an era dominated by offense, the 2023-24 Portland Trail Blazers have found themselves at the bottom of the NBA in scoring. Through their first seven games of the season, the Blazers have produced an average of 104.3 points per game, the lowest in the entire league. This comes as a surprise considering they still have two players averaging over 20 points per game and another player knocking on the door. So, what has happened to Portland’s offense?
Missing Key Players
Anfernee Simons, a key contributor to Portland’s halfcourt offense, has been sidelined for most of the year so far. His absence has certainly had an impact on the team’s scoring output. Additionally, Scoot Henderson’s offense got off to a slow start, and the Blazers have not been making full use of Deandre Ayton’s abilities. All of these factors have contributed to the team’s offensive struggles.
A Slow Pace
While individual players’ performances can be a factor, the bigger issue lies with the team as a whole. Portland currently has a pace rating of 101.3, tied with the Miami Heat for 24th in the NBA. Unlike the Heat and the Denver Nuggets, who are also in the low-pace category, the Blazers are not a veteran, halfcourt-savvy team. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to generating fast offense.
Lack of Shooting and Scoring Threats
Modern set offenses rely heavily on the three-point shot to spread the floor. Unfortunately, the Blazers lack enough shooters to create this spacing. They also lack a dominant multi-threat scorer/passer or a superstar who can score at will. Opponents have been able to sit back, waiting for drivers to attack the lane or passes to hit the post, and then swarm and strip the ball. Furthermore, the Blazers have struggled with their three-point shooting, field goal percentage, and effective field goal percentage, ranking near the bottom of the league in all these categories.
The Need for Easy Baskets
Without the ability to generate quick offense, the Blazers find themselves playing in the halfcourt more often than not. This is not a favorable situation for a team that lacks scoring threats and shooters. They need more easy baskets to ride out the ups and downs of their halfcourt possessions. Anfernee Simons’ absence has been particularly detrimental to Portland’s halfcourt offense, but it would be unfair to expect him to singlehandedly make up for the team’s deficit. Without the ability to run, the Blazers will continue to struggle with their current roster.
Overall, the Blazers’ offensive struggles can be attributed to a combination of missing key players, a slow pace, and a lack of shooting and scoring threats. Unless they can find ways to improve in these areas, their offensive woes are likely to continue.
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