We finally have the secret behind the Portland Trail Blazers' stunning success at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
Is it the change in defensive strategy, one that has the team ignoring shots at the rim in favor of completely shutting down the perimeter while holding teams to just 97.6 point per game? Maybe.
Is it the incredible offense, one—led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard—that has scored more points per possession, according to Basketball-Reference, than all teams but the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers? Maybe.
But the real reason behind the blazing (sorry for the lame pun) 13-2 start to the season is...iPads.
According to BlazersEdge's Ben Golliver, the team has been looking at iPads on the bench throughout games this season, reviewing tape of the contests and using them to make in-game strategic adjustments.
Talk about a nice implementation of technology.
As Wesley Matthews told Golliver, "You're not replaying [a possible mistake] in your head, psyching yourself out. You can actually see it."
LaMarcus Aldridge also weighed in on how he uses these tablets:
I get double-teamed a lot, so I just have them put my double-teams on there. I want to see how they're double-teaming me, where they are coming from. Of course [it helps]. If I'm getting double-teamed and I can see how they're doing it, that helps me and all my teammates.
As B/R's Alec Nathan wrote, the Blazers are for real.
Obviously, I'm exaggerating for effect by saying that the iPad use is more vital to that "real" status than the impressive defensive philosophy and the scorching nature of the offense, but let's not minimize the value of what we're seeing. Portland is doing everything possible to increase its chances of winning, and it's working.
Now, I just can't wait to watch and see if anyone starts playing Angry Birds during a blowout.