When the NBA suspended its season due to COVID-19, the Portland Trail Blazers (29-37) were 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
It's unclear if they will be given the chance to earn a playoff berth with the suspension of the season, but if they can, watch out!
Not a believer?
In an appearance on the Road Trippin' Podcast with Allie Clifton, Talkin' Blazers host Channing Frye, and Richard Jefferson, LeBron talked about how the Trail Blazers could be a dangerous team to face in the postseason.
"You got a Dame Lillard who can go for 50, a CJ McCollum that can score 40, a Carmelo Anthony that if he gets hot, which we know in the postseason could go for 35/40 as well." - LeBron James on why the Blazers would be a tough 8th seed 🗣 pic.twitter.com/4IZUAy0f0F— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 26, 2020
You got a Dame Lillard who can go for 50, a CJ McCollum that can score 40, a Carmelo Anthony that if he gets hot, which we know in the postseason could go for 35/40 as well... When you have that type of experience with Portland, they can make things happen. - LeBron James
The Blazers have proven this statement correct when they defeated the Lakers 127-119 in Staples Center in the Lakers' first game since the passing of Kobe Bryant. Lillard scored 48 points in the victory and the team didn't even have Carmelo Anthony who didn't make the trip for personal reasons.
Lillard has averaged 28.9 points per game (5th in the NBA) and 7.8 assists per game (6th in the NBA) this season. CJ McCollum has added 22.5 points per game (17th in the NBA) and Carmelo Anthony averages 15.9 points per game (69th in the NBA).
The respect given to Portland by LeBron aligns with what NBC Sports Northwest Portland Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes heard in February that the Lakers "don't want any part of Portland in the postseason" due to the size of Portland and the stellar play of Lillard.
Also, when the season returns the Blazers will be receiving additional reinforcements that can help them match up with Los Angeles. Center Jusuf Nurkic was scheduled to return, after nearly a season on the sidelines, to the Blazers at home on March 15th against Houston, but the NBA's suspension delayed his return.
Additionally, forward Zach Collins, who dislocated his shoulder in the fifth game of the 2019-2020 season said recently on Instagram "I'll be ready when the NBA is ready to come back". He was originally scheduled to be re-evaluated in early March.
LeBron also added that he wouldn't want to jump straight into the postseason when the NBA returns and would rather see a play-in tournament for the final playoff seed in the West between Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento.
Channing Frye had brought up the idea earlier on Talkin' Blazers about a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.
Because we're in unprecedented territory, the NBA has an opportunity to say 'Hey, let's try an in-game tournament,' right? We have five teams that are within four games of each other that want to make one spot... So we make a little tournament and we see how that goes...if it does work then you implement it in for next year...
If the Road Trippin' crew gets their way then maybe the Blazers can play their way into the postseason and prove the King correct.
You can watch the full podcast here.