Portland Trail Blazers Are the Most Dangerous Team in the NBA

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2012

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12, Gerald Wallace #3, Nicolas Batum #88 and Marcus Camby #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates their 97-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers are the the most dangerous team in the NBA. The operative word here is dangerous as opposed to best. Don't get confused n the difference. 

The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat are the two best teams; but the Trail Blazers are more dangerous. 

Now, allow me to say that the snort you just snorted is part of the reason why. 

Generally, the Trail Blazers aren't being taken as seriously as they should be. They have a lot of talent on that team—and it's two-way talent. 

It's one of those Art of War things—don't underestimate your opponent. 

In fact, so far this year they've got an average margin of victory of 8.5 points, and based on basketball-reference's strength of schedule rankings, they've attained that in spite of having the league's toughest schedule. They have the fourth-highest offensive rating and the sixth-highest defensive rating. 

Part of the reason they are so successful is that they run a very solid defense, but they also have a fast-paced offense. They are fourth in the NBA in pace, at 95 possessions per game. 

This, coupled with the their depth, is the reason they are so dangerous. 

Portland just keeps restocking players that can score and play defense. Based on hoopsstats, Portland has the third-most productive bench in the NBA, and the ninth-most productive starting five based on efficiency differential. The only other team in the top 10 with both their starters and their reserves is the Chicago Bulls. 

In a season where there is a highly condensed schedule, depth is a commodity that can't be overstated. More top-heavy teams are going to have struggles as the season progresses. Their starters will wear down as the season progresses. That's not a concern with Portland.

Between the balance of the Trail Blazers offense and defense, their starters and their bench, they are deep and solid. They don't have a lot of flashy superstars, but they have a lot of depth. They have enough depth to keep one wave after another coming at another team. They win by erosion. 

That's not going to disappear come playoff time. They don't have one or two stars, they have a deep team. They could bet anyone in a seven game series. 

That doesn't mean they are going to win it all, but don't think for a moment they can't. Every team they play there will be at least one mismatch they can exploit. 

Constant pressure from everywhere exposes weaknesses. They'll find where they are over a seven game series and exploit them. They are led by coach Nate McMillan, who is one of the best in the game. They're going to know what to do is 

In fact, it's quite feasible they will get out of the Western Conference, and with less effort that Chicago or Miami is going to have to exert to get through the other. From there, anything can happen. 

The Portland Trail Blazers are the most dangerous team in the NBA, in part because they are dangerous, and in part because people aren't recognizing just how dangerous they really are.