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Evaluating the Portland Trail Blazers at the All-Star Break

We examine the Blazers going into the All-Star Break, looking at some futures betting lines, injuries and one player to watch in fantasy basketball.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard reacts during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.  Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team on DraftKings Sportsbook. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.

Where do the Portland Trail Blazers stand at the All-Star Break?

Record: 25-31
Playoff Chances: 25.4%
Championship Odds: +10000
Division Odds: +15000
Conference Championship winner: +5000
MVP odds: Damian Lillard (+5000)

It looked like Portland was going to make that playoff push as the break was approaching. The Blazers won six of eight games, including wins over the Rockets, Lakers, Jazz and Heat, and seemed poised to make a run at stealing the 8-seed from a young Memphis team. But Portland lost its last two games before the break, including a double-whammy in the final game. Portland lost outright in Memphis, but even more importantly, losing Lillard to a groin injury. “It could be a week, it could be a month,” the Blazers said during the break. That’s not a good outlook for this team turning it around, especially after Lillard was playing like an MVP during that hot streak. Portland is 4.0 games back from Memphis for the final playoff spot.

Prediction: Prior to Lillard’s injury and a loss in Memphis, I would’ve taken the Blazers to sneak into the playoffs. But where things stand now, unfortunately it looks like they’re more likely to fade away and wind up in the lottery.

Key Injuries for Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, PG (groin) — out
Jusuf Nurkic, C (leg) — out
Rodney Hood, SG/SF (Achilles) — out for season
Zach Collins, PF/C (shoulder) — out
Mario Hezonja, SF/PF (ankle) — TBD
Nassir Little, SG/SF (ankle) — TBD

The length of the injuries above kind of tells the story for what kind of year it’s been for Portland. Nurkic, Hood and Collins could return from what have been serious, long-term injuries to see the floor this season, but none of them should be counted on to actually help the Blazers make a postseason push. Hezonja and Little just missed the last game before the break with ankle injuries. While we can expect them back soon, they won’t provide the help the Blazers need. Lillard’s status will be crucial to the season outlook for Portland, but it’s getting late for Lillard to recover from an injury and get this team to the postseason. The only thing Dame’s injury does for us is potentially create fantasy value.

Fantasy basketball spotlight: CJ McCollum

For as long as Lillard does wind up sidelined, McCollum will be the big winner from a fantasy perspective. The big question is what his salary will be on Friday against the Pelicans, and how quickly it’ll rise if his numbers get the type of boost we think it will. There will also be a trickledown effect here, with Carmelo Anthony, Anfernee Simons and so on getting fantasy boosts with an MVP-caliber player coming out of the rotation.

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