Alvin Gentry: Blazers have more around Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum this year

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 19: CJ McCollum # 3 and Damian Lillard # 0 of the Portland Trail Blazers face the Memphis Grizzlies on December 19, 2018 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: The user acknowledges and expressly agrees that by downloading and / or using this photo, the user agrees to the Getty Images License Terms and Conditions. Compulsory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich / NBAE via Getty Images)

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A year after Pelicans of New Orleans swept the Portland Trail Blazers In the first round of the playoffs, Pels head coach Alvin Gentry believes the Blazers are a much better team.

according to Jason Quick Gentry expressed his belief that Portland's home office had managed to put more talent around the guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum this season: "I still think you have to try to pull the ball out of the hands of Lady and CJ, but it's a little different now that they've added Rodney Hood to the mix, and even [Enes] Kanter. With these two guys, they really improved their team. … they have more weapons. "

Lillard and McCollum are still Portland's two best offensive options, but opposing teams can no longer focus solely on them.

The Jusuf Nurkic Center has taken a big step forward this season and is close to the All-Star level with an average of 15.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. The Blazers have also seen improvements from Jake Layman, Zach Collins and Maurice Harkless, giving them more versatility than most others. NBA teams.

Portland has not made much noise around the trade deadline, but it has added a depth of quality center in the form of Kanter and a hood-capable shooter that can help complete Lillard and McCollum.

The Blazers came into play Saturday with a record of 42-26, placing them fourth in the Western Conference. If the regular season ends today, they would have a tough game in the first round of the playoffs against a Oklahoma City Thunder team led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

While the Blazers are about to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, they have not yet passed the second round in this sequence and have not won playoffs since 2016.

Getting out of the first round of the stacked West Conference will not be easy, but as their depth is unmatched by nearly every other NBA team, the Blazers may have the best chance of running full in a Western Conference. which was dominated by the Warriors of the state of the gold for half a decade.

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