Blazers have probably reached their ceiling with this roster; where do they go from here?

Dazzling Dunks ...
Registered User
Joined: 11/18/2014
Posts: 2546
Points: 7778
Offline
Blazers have probably reached their ceiling with this roster; where do they go from here?

Don’t get me wrong, Portland had a fantastic season and definitely exceeded my expectations . Before the season, I thought they were one of the teams that could potentially drop out of the playoff race in the west this year. Instead, they improved their record from a season ago and snagged the third seed. I didn’t pick them to win against either okc or Denver and they proved me wrong both times. There’s no real shame in losing in the conference finals to a vastly inferior opponent that they did not match up well against.

However, when you look at the potential for real growth in this roster going forward, it’s pretty hard to see it. The warriors aren’t going anywhere next season (even if Durant does). The gap between them and the warriors is significant and the gap between them and Houston is probably pretty significant as well. Other teams in the west like the nuggets are likely to just keep improving while the clippers or lakers could vault them depending on the outcome of free agency.

Dame and cj are both eligible for extensions this offseason. If they commit to both long-term they could very well be locking themselves into a future of pseudo-contention. They could try to just continue to tinker around the margins and count on internal development, but there are probably just too many holes in this roster to plug to get to the point where they are true contenders. Dame is the franchise player and isn’t going anywhere, but I think they really have to explore the market for cj and see what they can get.


Arc12345
Registered User
Joined: 07/13/2009
Posts: 633
Points: 2018
Offline
Wings

I think this is a fix that is easier said than done for the Blazers - and it's one people have been saying for a LONG time.

Get a decent WING! Aminu and Harkless do not cut it in today's NBA if you want to win a championship. Their defense and rebounding are very appreciated, but their inability to consistently knock down 3's kills this team. When they did knock down 3's, they looked championship caliber.

If they could find someone in the mold of a Joe Ingles or Robert Covington (Klay Thompson would be an amazing fit for them, but then again who wouldn't he be an amazing fit for?)

I'm not sure I'm willing to totally blow it up. Lillard, McCollum, Kanter, Nurkic, even Hood and Turner (supremely overpaid) are solid pieces. I'd upgrade the wing spots in whatever way possible and run it back.

Sewok15
Sewok15's picture
Registered User
Joined: 06/19/2011
Posts: 2457
Points: 4884
Offline
Ironically those two players

Ironically those two players would have been best utilized guarding KD....who didn't even play in the series.

Striver347
Registered User
Joined: 12/31/2009
Posts: 105
Points: 512
Offline
Hard Disagree

I can't decide if this post is painfully uninformed or if you're just a person who wrote the Blazers off after the Pelican sweep. The future for the Blazers is actually rather bright.

Unless you totally didn't see Meyers Leonard absolutely broke out in the last two games and show that while Nurkic is injured, he offers a floor spacing 5 with ability to grab 6+ rebounds nightly, we saw a different game 3 and 4. Meyers flashed absurd potential in those nights.

Zach Collins is very promising and has ability to be a serious two way player as soon as next season. He can even secure an all star berth if he really reaches his defensive and offensive potential. He has high IQ for a big (which is rare), can pass, has an understanding for floor positioning, is a fiery competitor, can shoot mid range and the 3, and has post moves. He needs strength, which is by far the easiest thing to add.

Anfernee Simons offers lots of promise and intrigue. He scored 37 points in the season finale. If he can become anything similar to what Lou Williams is, and Anfernee has the skillset and size to do that, that's another huge boon for the Blazers.

Nurkic was a top 6 center in the league this past center and has all star potential as well. The REAL issue with the Blazers are their absolutely attrocious wings - Evan Turner, Moe Harkless, and perhaps Al Farouq-Aminu. Chief is a great defender, but he offers little to nothing on the other side of the ball. If the Blazers get role players who can create shots/knock down shots when Dame/CJ are double teamed, this team is a different animal.

After next offseason PTB has ~$40 million coming off the books. Serious changes are coming and it is very exciting.

Dazzling Dunks ...
Registered User
Joined: 11/18/2014
Posts: 2546
Points: 7778
Offline
Unfortunately they are still

Unfortunately they are still paying for the bad contracts they gave out in 2016 and have very limited flexibility for next season. They have 4 free agents in aminu, hood, kanter and curry who were a big part of their playoff rotation, and it’s very likely that all could move on. They are only going to have the mid-level exception to work with in free agency. While they could probably find a decent player in that range, it’s unlikely that there going to find someone who truly puts them over the top. Nurkic is likely out for most of next season, and even if he returns to full strength for next seasons playoffs, there are still serious question marks about his ability to defend against smaller, quicker lineups in the playoffs.

Collins has potential and is probably their best chance for internal growth. If he can develop into an rim-stretching big that can defend in the pick and roll at an elite level it gives them another demension. Leonard definitely showed out in games 3 and 4 but he’s never been consistent throughout his career and struggles on defense. It would be nice if simons could make an impact next season, but it would be hard to count on that at this point.

To really upgrade the roster through free agency, they are going to likely have to wait another year, but that also depends if they give cj and dame the extensions they will surely seek. Not being a total skeptic here. This is a very stable franchise overall and they should be good for awhile. I just still think that for them to ever really get over the hump they may have to start thinking bigger and make some difficult and potentially risky decisions involving their core.

Striver347
Registered User
Joined: 12/31/2009
Posts: 105
Points: 512
Offline
I'm aware of those things. I

I'm aware of those things. I acknowledged that they come off the books at the end of next season. Those contracts will also be significant expiring deals, which, as you probably know, are very valuable during trade season. Nurkic's ability to defend 'smaller quicker lineups' isn't in question since Zach Collins has tremendous flexibility defending in space.

Curry can be replaced with Simons' production (which is an uncertainty, although Simons is promising), Aminu is inconsistent offensively, and while Kanter will be sorely missed, his production can be replaced. Olshey likely signs one of those FAs, and I'm guessing Rodney will be the likely suspect unless he gets a larger deal elsewhere.

Even if that's the case, Moe slides to the 4 and Layman/Hood occupy more minutes at the 3. Portland won't be the same as this year, but they will have a flexible offense. Defense raises more concerns. Overall, the ceiling of PTB has not been reached or maximized. If anything, next season opens the floodgate for their players to truly grow into new roles, which PTB has lots of trade chips/spending money for the first time in a long time.

weballin.net
Registered User
Joined: 12/20/2009
Posts: 335
Points: 423
Offline
Wing and PF

When you look at the roster, there are some pretty weak spots that need to be improved, namely SF and PF.

Hood had some good games but he's an average SF who has not been consistent. As it was said before for Harkless and Aminu (15.8pts per game on a combined 49min with a poor 26% from three), they give their best to the team but they are just not talented enough to bring an alternative to Lillard/McCollum on offense.

Portland could use the draft to fill one of these spots as some interesting wings like Porter Jr or Elleby could be available and are almost local guys (both from Seattle). At PF, Washington could still be there as it could be the case for Kabengele, both promising players with solid offensive skills and defense.

The positive point is that despite weaknesses at two spots and a starting center injured, the Blazers still reach the Conference Finals. If they work well and keep their backcourt they still could find a way to upgrade their roster.

www.weballin.net

SwatLakeCity
Registered User
Joined: 06/12/2009
Posts: 3182
Points: 684
Offline
Porter going in 2nd round, Elleby returning to Washington St.

I do agree with you, but check your stuff concerning Jontay Porter and CJ Elleby. Porter is a second round prospect since he has that injury that is family inherited. No team will touch him in the first round. I have him going in the 40’s. And Elleby is returning to Washington St. So how does Portland draft him at 25?

faithnomuz
Registered User
Joined: 06/13/2008
Posts: 1751
Points: 2968
Offline
I think they have to move CJ.

I think they have to move CJ. Only if it brings in equivalent talent through depth and draft picks though. If they can get, for example, Ingram or Kuzma and the Lakers pick (may not be too much, tick tock Lebron), then id look at a deal.

The real question mark is center with a top 6 big man recovering from serious injury in Nurk Leonard breaking out, Kanter a mystery going forward, Collins on the rise and even Skal who can play and is young. They need to maximise playing time or showcase value to trade these young guys for wing and forward depth. There's too many potential wins and not enough cashing in. Guards are good either way with Dame getting supermax, CJ in or out, Seth and Simons in reserve.

Dell87
Registered User
Joined: 02/11/2014
Posts: 190
Points: 296
Offline
A guy like kuzma with cj and

A guy like kuzma with cj and dame is just what they need

kobyz
kobyz's picture
Registered User
Joined: 04/22/2009
Posts: 2963
Points: -2594
Offline
They hit a psychological wall

They hit a psychological wall against the dubs, they were into most of those games but just choke big time, it happened to everybody against the dubs, hard to explain that psychological thing...

In tearm of next season, they need to cut even turner who just too lackadaisical player most of the time and you can't count on him for minutes, they should try to re-sign hood who seems to find good home and fit there, in the draft they could go after a ready player to help them for their weak four position, grant williams or brandon clarke come to mind as options at their range...

OhCanada-
OhCanada-'s picture
Registered User
Joined: 05/08/2010
Posts: 11154
Points: 15120
Offline
Every year this topic gets

Every year this topic gets made.

DolanCare
DolanCare's picture
Registered User
Joined: 07/08/2011
Posts: 1318
Points: 3349
Offline
I don't understand why KD and

I don't understand why KD and other top-tier free agents don't consider Portland. Great organization, great city with a team that's ready to win now. The same goes for Denver.

r377
r377's picture
Registered User
Joined: 12/28/2010
Posts: 3532
Points: 10174
Offline
I was just going to post the

I was just going to post the same thing about Portland & Denver.

Imagine Durant and a healthy Nurkic on Portland vs GS in WCF next season. Tv ratings would be sky high !!

beerandhiphop
Registered User
Joined: 06/13/2008
Posts: 74
Points: 97
Offline
Check you're stuff dummy he

Check you're stuff dummy he obv means Kevin Porter not jontay..

RSS: Syndicate content