Trail Blazers’ defense a work in progress, but the pieces and commitment are in place: ‘Guys have been locked down on defensive end’

Nothing the Portland Trail Blazers do during training camp should be considered more important than revamping what was the worst defense in the NBA last season.

So far, coach Chauncey Billups says he has seen signs of a potentially good defensive team during practices at the University of California Santa Barbara.

“Guys have been locked down on the defensive end,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of mistakes being made just based on coverages and communication.

Just normal stuff that every team makes. But yeah, we have a lot of guys in here who enjoy playing defense.”

The team’s top two players, Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons, can only work as a winning combination in the backcourt if the rest of the team compensates for their lack of defensive prowess, allowing the duo to close out victories with their offense.

So, having a litany of players willing to give effort on defense will be imperative. Billups, during his playing days as a defensive-minded point guard in Detroit, played with four other starters who embraced defense and that helped the Pistons won the 2004 NBA championship.

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