PORTLAND – There’s no doubt that passing seems to be the in thing this year in the NBA as teams like the Warriors and Spurs have upped their passing game but the big question is have the Trailblazers been passing the ball enough this year?
The answer to this question is yes and no. The Portland Trailblazers are having another strong season thanks to the hard work of players like Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard who have all been excellent at exploiting the collapsing defense of other teams and finding the open man but they are still ranked #25 in the NBA for passes per game.
Portland Trailblazers Are Still Better Than the Lakers
What’s shocking about the 2015-2016 NBA season is that the Portland Trailblazers are still beating the Lakers in passing (by three spots) but they are also lagging other teams when it comes to things like their assist percentage.
Yes the Trailblazers are scoring points per game and are doing more with less but the reality is that their lack of ball movement ranks them as just “average” among other NBA teams and that’s not a good thing if they hope to finally have another championship season.
Does Passing Still Matter?
Ask any longtime basketball fan and they will tell you that passing still matters in basketball but does it still matter in the NBA and could the Trailblazers finally dominate the NBA if they improved their passing game?
Teams do tend to cluster more closely on offensive rating as passes per possession increase toward the average, excluding outliers. This might suggest that teams that move the ball with an even close to average frequency are always able to get some clean shots, but have difficulty becoming elite. Teams that rely more heavily on isolation, on the other hand, are more likely to sink or swim depending on the offensive skills of their top players.
Source – Blazers Edge
Sure the team has players like McCollum and Lillard who regularly make the highlight reels but the reality is that the team is at a serious disadvantage if they continue to rely on both players for ball movement and the Trailblazers should look to the Spurs or the Thunder as what’s possible if they passed the ball more since both teams have been among leaders thanks to their passing and offensive prowess.