Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report ranked Portland’s backcourt No. 1 heading into the season.
Last season, the two guided the Blazers to a 53-29,record which earned RIP City a tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed over the Houston Rockets in the NBA Playoffs.
Lillard took it to another level when in the NBA playoffs and guided Rip City to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
They’d eventually lose the Warriors, but Lillard’s impact was incredible.
For those keeping score at home: Lillard and McCollum combined for 46.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.9 assists during the regular season while turning the ball over 4.2 total times per game.
Lillard averaged 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 80 games during the NBA’s regular season.
McCollum averaged 17.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
Worth noting: In six years together, Portland has never had a losing record, reaching the postseason every time.
The Blazers rewarded McCollum this summer with a three-year, $100 million contract extension. They also signed Lillard to a supermax extension this past July.
The duo has the co-sign of Portland Trail Blazers legend, Clyde Drexler.
“I think they have been growing for a few years and things are good for them,” Drexler told NBA scribe, Landon Buford.
“They just have to sure up their frontcourt and maybe win a few games.”
A Hall of Famer, a ten time NBA All Star and one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, Drexler spent 15 years in the league and scored over 22,000 points.
After a successful career that included one NBA Finals appearance with the Portland Trail Blazers, Drexler, also a USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist with Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Charles Barkley and other big name Dream Teamers, Drexler went on to team join the Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Horry, Sam Cassell and head coach, Rudy Tomjanovich.
They won an NBA Championship for the city of Houston in 1995.
The Blazers begin NBA training camp this month. Their regular season begins next month.
Also worth noting: Clyde Drexler is not the only former Houston Rocket who has spoke reverently about Lillard and McCollum.
Back in March, Charles Barkley and TNT co-analyst, Kenny Smith both agreed that the Trail Blazers could make their first appearance in the NBA Finals since 1992.
“I like Portland in the Finals,” Barkley told me.
“With [Damian] Lillard and [CJ] McCollum. The addition of Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter. I like them in the West.”
“Charles, he can say someting crazy all of the time,” Kenny Smith told me.
“I don’t normally say it. I’m just saying, not every day in a seven game series. I’m talking about just three games: shoot six for ten in between to combat guys shooting four for ten from three point range. They have it, they have it! So to me, that separates them when they’ve been so close every year to get over the hump, that they can get to the Western Conference Finals and they’re a clear and present agent for the Warriors because the Warriors have had trouble with those two guards even in that set. And even, until this year, Oklahoma had trouble with those two guards; until this year.”
by – heavy.com