Now What?: What does the Blazers bench look like in 2018-'19?
Who is locked in for 2018-'19?
Oh, the second unit! The Blazers bench will be a key part of Portland success moving forward, but what will the bench look like? With three key bench rotation players hitting the free agent market this offseason, the bench could look a little different than we are used to come training camp.
Even with Free Agency looming, the Blazers have plenty of players locked in that aren’t hitting the market. Let’s take a look at the bench players currently under contract for next season…
ET found a home
Evan Turner – SG/SF
Contract details: Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Blazers in July of 2016. He has two years remaining on the deal and stands to make $17,868,852 in 2018-‘19
2017-’18 Stats: Turner played in 79 games, starting 40 of them. He averaged 8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 2.2 apg.
Outlook: ET filled many a role for the Blazers. Whether it was bench scorer, primary ball handler, or starting small forward, Turner was ready for the task at hand. Turner should be an integral part of the Blazers bench unit next season.
The (10) Million Dollar Man
Meyers Leonard - C
Contract details: Leonard signed a four-year, $41 million deal in July of 2016. He has two years remaining on the deal and will make $10,595,506 next season.
2017-’18 Stats: Leonard played in 33 games, starting two of them. He averaged 3.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, and 0.5 apg.
Outlook: Leonard has been around long enough that you know what to expect. What you see is what you get with the big 7-footer. Can Leonard finally get over the hump can crack the rotation in 2018-’19?
"Big Z" making a big impact
Zach Collins – PF/C
Contract details: Collins signed his rookie contract with the Blazers last summer. The contract is a four-year deal, with team options for years three and four. Collins will be on the books for just $3,628,920 next season.
2017-’18 Stats: Collins played in 66 games, starting one of them. He averaged 4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, and 0.5 blkpg.
Outlook: Collins started the season with DNPs, and ended the season as a key member of the second unit. The question is not will he be a key part of the bench next season, it’s how long will he be on the bench? Collins stands a good chance to slide into the starting PF slot in the near future.
"Biggie" Swanigan continues to grow
Caleb Swanigan - PF
Contract details: Swanigan signed his rookie contract last summer. Like Collins, the contract is a four-year deal with team options in years three and four. Swanigan will be on the books for $1,740,000 next season.
2017-’18 Stats: Swanigan played in 27 games, starting three of them. He averaged 2.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, and 0.5 apg.
Outlook: Swanigan bounced from the NBA, to the G-League, and back again this season. Fans love Biggie, and would love to see him get more minutes. Will Stotts give the fans what they want next season?
Layman - The leader of The Closer
Jake Layman – SG/SF
Contract details: Layman signed a three-year, $2.7 deal in 2016. He would stand to make $1,544,951 next season. However, his contract is not guaranteed until Saturday, June 30.
2017-’18 Stats: Layman played in 35 games, starting one of them. He averaged 1.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, and 0.3 apg.
Outlook: Jake Layman is, well, Jake Layman. He is a fringe rotation player who may not get a lot of minutes, but brings a lot of energy when he does. He should expect to be used in the same way next season. Layman – The leader of The Closers.
Baldwin for backup (pg)
Wade Baldwin IV - PG
Contract details: Baldwin signed a two-way deal with the Blazers in October of last season. On March 12 the Blazers announced they had signed him through 2018-’19 at the league minimum. According to Basketball Insiders, next season is non-guaranteed. If guaranteed he would be on the books for $1,544,951.
2017-’18 Stats: Baldwin played in seven games for the Blazers, averaging 5.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, and 0.7 apg. In the G-League he averaged 18.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 5.1 apg in 17 games with the Texas Legends.
Outlook: Baldwin went from “who’s that” to “look at that” in a matter of minutes. He was an end of the bench guy until a late season injury to Damian Lillard thrust him into the lineup. Baldwin was on fire in his limited time on the floor, showing glimpses of his offensive skills and locking down on defense. Baldwin could be a good backup for Lillard should the Blazers not bring Shabazz Napier back next season.
Papagiannis is the Blazers project
Georgios Papagiannis - C
Contract details: Papagiannis signed a 10-day contract with the Blazers on March 8, 2018. At the expiration of that deal the Trail Blazers announced they had signed him through 2018-’19 at the league minimum. According to Basketball Insiders, next season is non-guaranteed. If guaranteed he would be on the books for $1,544,951.
2017-’18 Stats: Papagiannis played in just one game for the Blazers this season, totaling two points, two steals, and one rebound in four minutes. In the G-League he averaged 13.5 ppg, 9.7 rpg, and 1.5 blkpg in 10 games with the Reno Bighorns.
Outlook: Papagiannis and project – they both start with P. The young Greek has a lot of potential, but is not really close to tapping into it. However, at just 20-years-old, he has plenty of time. He will continue to develop next season, but it just may not be in meaningful minutes, especially if Jusuf Nurkic and Ed Davis both return to Portland.