The Blazers were a mess defensively last season. J.J. Hickson couldn't stop anyone and forced everyone else on the roster to have to compensate for his lack of stability.
The problem is that there aren't a lot of defensive-minded players on this team. So Portland picked up Robin Lopez during the off-season to help bolster their front line.
Lopez has been a revelation, bringing toughness and tenacity down low. This has freed up Aldridge to focus more on his offensive game and his rebounding. Lopez is the type of player that does all the little things that don't always show up on the stat sheet.
However, the rest of the roster lacks this quality. This is a team that is built to outscore their opponents, and that rarely leads to playoff success.
The biggest problem defensively with this team is its half-court defense. Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews are solid defenders that play with passion, but they don't really have the skill to shut down their opponents.
During the regular season, you can usually hide this deficiency. But in the playoffs everyone plays tough defense, so opportunities to run are at a minimum. Therefore, it becomes paramount to play solid half-court defense.
The biggest issue is dribble penetration. Lillard is often victimized by quicker point guards and Matthews, while a better defender, lacks the lateral quickness to guard that position.
Batum is the closest thing to a defensive stopper but while his length helps, he can get overpowered at times.
The Blazers are going to need to do a better job of communicating and helping one another. Most likely, this will entail stepping back and giving up more deep balls and hoping that their tremendous rebounding ability will hold teams to one-and-done possessions.