When the 2019-20 NBA regular-season restarts on July 31, the Portland Trail Blazers will be in 9th place 3 ½ games behind the eighth place Memphis Grizzlies and tied with the tenth place New Orleans Pelicans and 11th place Sacramento Kings but owning the tiebreaker with both the Pelicans and Kings. Portland is 29-37 overall, 18-14 at home and 11-23 on the road.The Trail Blazers are just a half game ahead of the 12th place San Antonio Spurs.
Damian Lillard is the leading scorer and leader in assists for Portland with averages of 28.9 points and 7.8 assists per game. The third leading scorer and leading rebounder is Hassan Whiteside with averages of 16.3 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. CJ McCollum is Portland's second leading scorer with an average of 22.5 points per game and one of six players for the Trail Blazers averaging double figures in scoring.
Lillard is having the best offensive run of his NBA career and that has helped the Blazers remain in the league's top 10 in offensive efficiency. The Trail Blazers have the league’s top offense versus the NBA's top 10 defenses, averaging 111.4 points scored per 100 possessions across 20 games that fit into that category. Gary Trent Jr. has been an unexpected bright spot for the Trailblazers this season. Trent scored an average of 13.5 points per game during a 19-game stretch covering for injured star CJ McCollum amongst others and earned a position in the regular rotation.
Injuries have defined the Trail Blazers season with the biggest being the loss of center Jusuf Nurkic who suffered a broken leg in March last year and has not played since. The Blazers also lost Rodney Hood, Skal Labissiere and Zach Collins amongst others. Following his injury, Labissiere was traded to the Hawks. Nurkic was ready to play his first game since returning from his broken leg, but the season was suspended for the coronavirus outbreak. Collins is also expected back for the Trailblazers when they restart and that should help their frontcourt game.
With both Nurkic and Collins returning to the lineup Carmelo Anthony could see his minutes cut. Although the veteran scoring machine has much more playoff experience than many others on the roster and that will come in handy down the final eight games of the regular season which will feel like postseason games. However, Portland will not have enough time to gel as a unit with its injured players returning and will not qualify for the postseason.