PORTLAND, Ore. – This wasn’t a good season for the Blazers. The team didn’t live up to expectations and the majority of the players on the team came up short in that department as well.
The Blazers, however, finished the regular season with 41 wins, the picture of mediocrity. The team played much better after the All-Star break with an 18-8 record, fourth-best in the NBA. The Blazers were especially lifted by their performance in March, when Portland won 13 of 16 games. But even though the Blazers finished the regular season strong and made the playoffs, the season was a disappointment overall.
Some of the grades for the Blazers for this season won’t be pretty. They reflect the reality of what happened all season, not just in March.
The good news is the book has closed on the 2016-17 season. The players can work this summer to improve their games. The front office can make smart moves to improve the roster. Everyone gets a fresh slate, a blank report card, when training camp begins next October.
GRAPHIC INSTRUCTIONS: Take a stroll around the court and check out the player cards for the nine rotation members of the 2016-17 Portland Trail Blazers. Click on each card to open a larger version. Click on the card again to flip it over and see the back. To close the card you’re looking at, click it one more time. Mobile users, rotate your phone to see the full graphic.
When the Blazers matched the Brooklyn Nets’ four-year, $81 million contract to retain Crabbe last summer, they believed they were bringing back a lights-out 3-point shooter and dynamic defender.
Crabbe shot the ball well from distance during the season, though he was streaky. And Crabbe regressed defensively, becoming a negative factor on that end of the court.
When it came to shooting, Crabbe was the ultimate tease. He ranked second in the NBA in 3-point shooting, making 44 percent of his attempts. But it wasn’t a consistent 44 percent.
For example, over a stretch of four games in February, Crabbe attempted only six 3-pointers, making two of them. He then went on a four-game stretch where he made 10 of 16 attempts. Another example: On Friday, Jan. 27, Crabbe made six of eight 3-pointers in a 112-109 win against the Grizzlies. But in the three games prior to that game, Crabbed took only three 3-pointers and missed all of them. The game after he hit six 3-pointers? He took one and missed it.
At home, Crabbe was dynamite, shooting 51 percent. On the road, he was a more pedestrian 37-percent 3-point shooter.
Crabbe was one of the Blazers’ worst defenders during the 2016-17 season, allowing 0.96 points per possession in isolation defense. That ranked in the 37th percentile in the NBA and was the third-worst mark among the Blazers' rotation players. Crabbe has never been an elite defender, but he took a big step back last season as a defender.
ALLEN CRABBE ISOLATION DEFENSE
2016-17: 0.96 points per possession
2015-16: 0.88 points per possession
Because Crabbe makes more than $18.5 million, the third-highest salary on the team, he must provide more. He has the length and shooting ability to thrive as a 3-and-D specialist, a valuable role in today's NBA. With a little more consistency, the shooting is already there. But Crabbe's defense is a liability and that must change.
Blazers report cards
Note: Report cards weren’t made for Ed Davis, Pat Connaughton, Jake Layman, Shabazz Napier or Tim Quarterman, because they played too few games and minutes for an accurate assessment of their value.
How we determined each player's grade
These grades reflect where each player fits within the hierarchy of the league, as judged by statistical data. The NBA statistic “Player Impact Estimate” (PIE) was the data point used to calculate each grade.
According to NBA.com, PIE “measures a player’s overall statistical contribution” while they’re on the court. It is a comparable stat to Player Efficiency Rating (PER).
The formula to compute the statistic incorporates points, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocked shots, personal fouls and turnovers.
For context, Russell Westbrook had the highest PIE in the NBA with a score of 23, followed by Anthony Davis with a score of 19.2. An average player in the NBA, according to the PIE statistic, had a score between 10 and 11 and included players like Otto Porter Jr. and Marcin Gortat.
19 PIE and up — A+
17.7-18.9 — A
16.4-17.6 — A-
15.1-16.3 — B+
13.8-15.0 — B
12.5-13.7 — B-
11.2-12.4 — C+
9.9-11.1 — C
8.6-9.8 — C-
7.3-8.5 — D+
6-7.2 — D
4.7-5.9 — D-
3.4-4.6 — F+
2.1-3.3 — F
0-2.0 — F-
Jared Cowley is a digital producer at KGW. Follow him on Twitter here.