David Aldridge of NBA.com assesses the Portland Trail Blazers' 2013 offseason, ranking it the 18th-best in the NBA.
These 30-team rankings are only for offseason moves, the things teams have done since they last played a game, taking into account the Draft, free agency and trades. It is not a predicted order of finish for next season.
THE KEY MAN: Head Athletic Trainer Chris Stackpole. The Blazers hired the 26-year-old in June to replace longtime Head AT Jay Jensen. Rightly or wrongly, Jensen was heavily criticized in Portland after the team's investments in both Greg Oden and Brandon Roy went sour because of injuries. (Full disclosure: Jensen was never anything but accommodating with me over the years as he explained, over and over, how many different avenues and areas the team explored to try and heal both Oden and Roy. I liked Jensen, and I still do.) So, rightly or wrongly, Stackpole, who is highly regarded as an up and comer in his business by many, will have to fight history and perception as he puts his own best practices into place to keep the Blazers healthy and strong.
THE SKINNY: Portland had to address its gaping hole at center, and plugged in Lopez as a short-term solution. If the Blazers are going to keep Cousin LaMarcus happy, though, they have to have a long-term answer at that position, where they tried and failed to get Roy Hibbert last summer. Until then, the Blazers will get buckets from their three-guard rotation of Damian Lillard, McCollum and Wes Matthews. They also are hoping they improved the league's worst bench last season with the additions of Wright, Robinson and rookie Crabbe, who was a solid value pick early in the second round.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter