Zach Collins
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The Blazers have been so underwhelming this year it’s actually depressing. It’s not all their fault, they have been plagued with injuries. Because of those injuries, their defense has suffered greatly. Despite that, they still have a chance at the 8th seed. They benefit greatly from the COVID-19 hiatus, I would say more than other team currently. That should scare the other potential teams trying to get that 8th seed. I may be crazy here, but with their defensive help and the amount of talent they’re getting back, I wouldn’t count them out against the Lakers. While the Blazers are getting Jursuf Nurkic and Zach Collins back, for the Blazers, Zach Collins is there X Factor. Trust me, we know what Nurkic brings to the table. 

Zach Collins is the X-Factor here because of the solid defensive help he will bring off the bench. When Nurkic is not on the floor, Collins will be keeping the defense stout to win playoff games. So far, the Blazers’ biggest weakness IS defense. Especially since Hassan Whiteside isn’t getting it done. I’m not sure how I can paint this picture any clearer. I’m not worried about the Blazers offense in the slightest. Damian Lillard is one of the best Point Guards in the league. CJ McCollum is a proven scorer. Carmelo Anthony is having a slight resurgence in his career. Hassan Whiteside controls the paint and gets his buckets. Between those 4, they already rack up 83 points as an average. The bench players can get the rest of their points. 

What most fans fail to realize is that defense will win championships. It’s funny how cliche it is but it’s the Honest to God truth. If the Blazers’ defense was so bad that the Blazers offense couldn’t win them games then I can’t emphasize how big this is for the Blazers. The Blazers are getting back their defensive players so the Blazers can win games. If the Blazers are going to have any chance of making the playoffs and then upsetting the Lakers, the defense is key here. That’s what Zach Collins brings for the Blazers off the bench. Solid benches will help win you playoff games. With Zach Collins in the mix, there’s no doubt that he is their X-Factor.