2017-18 Record: 49-33 (third in the Western Conference)
Players Added: Seth Curry (free agent), Nik Stauskas (free agent), Anfernee Simons (draft), Gary Trent Jr. (draft night trade)
Players Lost: Ed Davis (free agent), Shabazz Napier (free agent), Pat Connaughton (free agent)
Projected Team MVP: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard was named first-team All-NBA last season and cracked the top-10 of ESPN’s annual ranking of the league’s best players. Backcourt running mate C.J. McCollum has really come into his own the past few years, but not even he can challenge the pecking order when it comes to the Blazers’ best and most important player.
Lillard is a nightmare for defenders. He has range like Steph Curry, he can take anyone off the dribble, and he’s made tremendous progress at both getting to the rim and finishing in traffic. His defense has long been a sore spot, but the Blazers were effectively able to hide that last season with a sound overall team defensive scheme that placed them among the best in the league on that side of the floor.
Lillard is one of the NBA’s deadliest players at his position, and it’s his shooting and playmaking skills that are the catalyst for everything the Blazers do.