The Portland Trail Blazers made quite a bit of moves over the offseason, to bolster their team. Through the moves that they made, they won the offseason. Here is The Blazers season preview:
This offseason, The Blazers GM Neil Olshey set out to be the most active he has ever been. He put together a roster that has a chance to win an NBA Championship. Can they repeat the magic of two seasons ago? Can they do better?
Kanter provided a lot for the Blazers when he was with them in 2019. He provided offensive rebounding and about 10-12 points a night when he came off the bench. He had provided some decent defense as well.
After Jusuf Nurkic got injured, Kanter entered the starting rotation and performed well while playing through an injury. It wasn’t until Ramadan when he started struggling.
Terry Stotts will be happy to have Kanter back as the backup Center.
Last year, the Blazers were missing a key piece for most of the season. A 3 and D player, a role that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless filled in 2019.
Olshey traded for Trevor Ariza at the deadline, but he chose to opt out of the bubble. When he played, the Blazers had immediately been better on defense.
Though, Covington is younger, more athletic, and can provide more on both sides of the ball for Portland.
Derrick Jones Jr.
One of the top five best defenders at the three-point line last season. The Blazers are getting some athleticism in the reigning NBA SLAM DUNK CHAMPION.
Rodney Hood and Carmelo Anthony
Rodney Hood was the Blazers starting small forward last season before he went down with a torn Achilles. That’s when the Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony. Both resigned, and Anthony knows he will be coming off the bench and he’s okay with that.
Hood can provide great shooting from beyond the arc, while Anthony will provide more in the midrange.
Key Losses: Trevor Ariza, Hassan Whiteside
While the Blazers won’t really miss much here. They will miss the experience that Trevor Ariza brought to the table. The Blazers are still missing a former champion to help mentor the team.
Whiteside’s production will replaced by Nurkic and Kanter.
Starting Lineup: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington, Jusuf Nurkic
This was announced as the staring lineup by Head Coach Terry Stotts on December 1st. The linup provides both offense and defense with versatility on the wings. Lillard and McCollum also pledged to get better defensively.
Bench: Gary Trent Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, Anfernee Simons, Harry Giles III, Zach Collins, Nassir Little.
This bench unit has two possible sixth man of the year candidates in Trent Jr. and Anthony. Hood will be on a minutes restriction to start the season but could become the starting small forward by the end of the year, after all it was his spot last season.
The Blazers are already being doubted heading into the preseason. NBA Analysts do not have the Blazers making the playoffs, but this happens every year. With the additions they made this offseason and Nurkic fully healthy, the Blazers will more than likely be a top three team in the west.
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