The Trail Blazers season ended last week after a trip to the Western Conference Finals thanks to one of the most improbable runs in franchise history. And while the NBA Finals start on Thursday, the Blazers have already started to shift focus to the offseason.
The Blazers have a lot of questions this offseason, especially with Al-Farouq Aminu, Jake Layman, Seth Curry, Rodney Hood, and Enes Kanter all hitting the free agent market.
To top it off, Portland doesn't have a lot of cap space to work with. So, it's a certainty that the Blazers roster will look just a little different than it did last season.
Knowing this, how would you approach filling the roster next season?
Ask just about any fan where they would like to see the Blazers improve the roster and the answer will probably be the two forward positions. Whether it be upgrades over current starters Aminu and Maurice Harkless, or just adding depth, the Blazers need to address their point of weakness.
Who would you like to see added to the Blazers roster?
Here is a list of players that I think would be perfect fits for the Blazers. While they may not be available via trade, or on the open market, these are the guys I would love to see in Portland. Keep in mind, I'm looking for guys to fill the role-player, key starter roles. So I left out superstars like Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis. Those are just no-brainers that every team would love to add... Back on track - here is a list of 10 SF/PF upgrades I would love to see the Blazers add (in no particular order):
1) Taurean Prince: Prince would be a perfect fit for Portland. He doesn't command the ball on offense, but still chipped in nearly 14 points per game for the Hawks this past season. He also shot 39% from beyond the arc, perfect for a Terry Stotts offense.
2) Bobby Portis: Portis had a career year this season, splitting time between the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. He was a near double-double guy at 14.2 ppg and 8.1 rpg, and shot 39% from three. Not bad compared to the 9.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 34% from three you get from Aminu.
3) Aaron Gordon: Gordon has long been linked to the Blazers as a potential trade target, and it's easy to see why: 16.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game.
He isn't a prolific three-point shooter, at 35%, but considering all the other things he does to fill the box score, I think Portland fans would be just fine with that.
4) Jae Crowder: Crowder probably wouldn't be someone you are looking at to fill the starting role, but he would be a great bench fit for the Blazers. One plus with Crowder is he is a natural small forward, but has the size and strength to play power forward in small lineups. Not a great long ball shooter, but he is your prototypical "lunch pail" guy that Rip City loves. Stotts had a chance to coach him in Dallas, and has long been a fan of his game.
5) Otto Porter: Porter was linked to the Blazers at last season's trade deadline, and boy would it have been nice if they landed him. Porter averaged 12.6 points and shot 37% from deep with the Wizards, but those numbers jumped to 17.5 points and 49% after he was traded to the Bulls. Not to mention, he is a good defender. Sure, he is on the books for $27 million next season, but Portland has that on its bench right now and gets far less production.
6) Robert Covington: RoCo is a perfect three and D role player and is an instant upgrade at small forward. He averaged 14.5 ppg, 5.7rpg, and 2.3 spg last season while shooting 37% from deep. Great defense and a three-ball... sign me up.
7) Khris Middleton: Middleton has a $13 player option next season, and will probably decline it to get a raise on the open market. Another solid defender with a sweet jump shot. Middleton averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.0 steals per game last season. He also shot 38% from deep.
8) Justise Winslow: One word to describe Winslow: Solid. Not a high volume guy, but fills up a box score. 12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.1 spg, and 38% from three was his line last season.
9) Jerami Grant: Grant had the best year of his career last season with the Thunder, averaging career highs across the board. He scored 13.6 points per game and shot 39% from deep.
10) LaMarcus Aldridge: Because... why not? Say what you want about how he left, most of us would welcome him back with open arms. Who wouldn't want 21.3 points and 9.2 rebounds coming from their power forward spot?