Portland’s defensive philosophy will modernize this season
The Portland Trail Blazers had a very good defense last season, with Robin Lopez anchoring the middle, and Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews holding things down on the perimeter. They didn't force a lot of turnovers, but instead stayed home and conservative, trusting their talent and length to persevere in the end.
It was a solid strategy, but this year's team is more athletic and less experienced. Here's how head coach Terry Stotts will deal with his new personnel, per The Oregonian:
The Trail Blazers won't be uber-aggressive because it could backfire against teams that know how to pass. Instead, they'll let their young bigs sit back and get a better view of the floor.
It's smart, but probably isn't enough to help Portland make the playoffs.
“If we have a small lineup, let's say Farouq or Moe were at (power forward), there is more switching on ball,” Stotts explains. “We still don't like to switch off ball screens or dribble handoffs, but we do sometimes.” The Blazers have used the smaller look a few times during the preseason, playing Aminu at power forward alongside either Ed Davis or Noah Vonleh at center. With that group, the Blazers can switch every screen that doesn't involve the opposing center. The idea is to let the Blazers versatile defenders trade assignments quickly, keeping the ball contained and in front of them.