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The Portland Trail Blazers are like grocery store music.

With the permission of our esteemed leader, I will take an unconventional and hopefully fresh look at each of the Clippers' opponents by comparing them to something that has nothing to do with the NBA. I will feature one to two teams per week. This week, the Portland Trail Blazers are like grocery/department store music.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers

aldridge lillard

are store music.

It is difficult to compare the Portland Trail Blazers to anything. They don't have any players whom I strongly dislike. They don't play a confusing or difficult to watch style of basketball. And there is nothing offensive about the ownership, fan base, or city, which is actually quite pleasant and efficient. At the end of the day, the Portland Trail Blazers are like grocery/department store music.

grocery store music

Grocery store/department store music is not bad, far from it. It is generally pleasant and inoffensive. The stores want you to stay in there as long as possible, not push you out. You won't hear any Slayer or N.W.A., but occasionally, you will hear a surprising semi-obscure track that you like, and you think, "I love this song," (and sing along) as you pick up some grocery store sushi or some high end frozen pizza. Background music varies by stores. Vons and Ralphs' playlist are filled by light rock/yacht rock artists. Christopher Cross and Ambrosia are the main staples. Trader Joe's is cool (or they like to think they are), so they have playlists which consists of 70s soul, disco, or classic rock depending on the day. You might hear Golden EarringEarth Wind and FireWar, or Todd Rundgren. Fresh & Easy mixes pop with the occasional dance pop or light house/electronica song. Walgreens plays light rock and pop songs from the 1960s to the 1990s. Big Lots and Whole Foods' playlists are dominated by light rock and 90s pop. I have heard at least five different Michael McDonald songs in Big Lots. Once in a while, Big Lots and Whole Foods will play a cool sophistipop or new wave track by Swing Out Sisterthe Style Council, or Joe Jackson. These songs will make half of your day, since some of these tracks you cannot hear on the radio.

The Trail Blazers are a nice and non-offending team. They do not have any polarizing players or rotation guys who you watch and think to yourself, "How the heck is he still in the league?" (see Hinrich, Kirk) Just like the occasional semi-rare new wave track that is not played on the radio or the housey dance pop song you haven't heard since 1998, the Blazers will produce a few surprising moments such as a Damian Lillard dunk or game winner, or when Wesley Matthews and his "don't jump" three point shots go on an unstoppable roll. Otherwise, it is the business as usual with LaMarcus Aldridge's mid-range attacks, screens and ball movement, held together by Lillard's creativeness, Nicolas Batum's passing, and Robin Lopez and Matthews doing the dirty work. The Trail Blazers are a constant force in the NBA just like the constant pleasantness emanating from the speakers of your favorite grocery and department stores.

matthews blazers

There are a few teams that I dislike in the Western Conference. I don't particularly enjoy watching the Thunder play. I have to credit the Warriors for their style of play and effectiveness, but I would not like to see them win the Championship. James Harden's excessive theatrics are tiresome and it is always fun to watch something engineered by analytics go up in flames -- especially by mid-range jumpers. This latter reason is another reason to root for the Trail Blazers. If they do not play the Clippers in the Playoffs, I would not mind seeing the Trail Blazers go to the Finals. Blazers' fans deserve it after years of bad injuries luck, the 2000 Playoffs, and those Jail Blazers team. Like grocery/department store music and the rare entertaining PG movie, the Trail Blazers are cool inoffensive entertainment.

Trail Blazers' Watchability Essay

lillard kaman blazers

The Trail Blazers are top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and they are just outside the top ten in pace. They are second in the league in three point percentage and attempts. In other words, this is a complete modern basketball team. The Blazers may not have as many highlight reel dunks and jaw dropping passes as their Western Conference colleagues, but they are fun to watch. Lillard is the gunslinging attacker, while Aldridge hovers around the left block and patrols the midrange. The flow system provides off ball screens and constant motion from their wings. Even with Batum's horrific shooting year, the spacing is generally very good. Lillard is an offensive marvel with a flair for the dramatic. While Lillard provides highlights, Aldridge is the steady cog that usually keeps the offense going, shooting those bland or beautifully dated (depending on your opinion) mid-range shots. Wesley Matthew's tenacity and efficiency are underrated with his more prolific teammates. Along with Batum's passing, Matthew's shooting and defensive acumen keep the Blazers in games when Lillard is having a bad first three quarters and Aldridge missing over half of his 8 to 16 footers. Matthews is not quite Tony Allen in terms of intangible entertainment, but he makes up for it by actually having shooting touch and offensive skills. Add in Robin Lopez's weird effectiveness and a better bench with Arron Afflalo helping out Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, this is a complete NBA team that is equally effective and entertaining.

Paul Tee's Prognosis

aldridge blazers

The Trail Blazers have one of the best starting lineups in the league, but do not overwhelm you with anything. Comparing them to other Western Conference contenders, they look like they should be the 7th or 8th seed, but yet, they keep winning and are a constant in the upper echelon of the West. After last year's Playoffs, I would not bet against Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. In some ways, the Trail Blazers are built for the Playoffs. Their lack of depth past their 7th or 8th man does not matter. They can hide Damian Lillard on the other team's weakest offensive player and let Matthews and Batum guard the stars. Offensively, in the Playoffs, shooting percentages usually come down, and shot creation, clutchness and mid-range jump shots matter. The Blazers are excellent in these three areas, but I do not think the Trail Blazers can win the Championship. They are probably one player short, and I have no idea who (or what type of player) that player is. However, as crazy as the Western Conference is this season, where the Thunder and Warriors can meet in the first round and the Spurs look nothing like last year's model -- the Trail Blazers could sneak into the NBA Finals depending on how the match ups shake out. Long term, assuming Matthews and Aldridge reup with the team, the Blazers will be perennial contenders with ceiling of the Conference Finals.