Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM.com writes that the Portland Trail Blazers would be smart to look to improve their roster in advance of the Feb. 20 trade deadline. He points to Portland's weak defense, tough upcoming schedule and a lack of attack-the-basket players as reasons that might spur a move.
The lack of an elite slasher negates some of the value [LaMarcus] Aldridge brings to the floor. His dead-eye shooting from long range forces one of the opposing big men to leave the paint, which opens up a ton of driving lanes to the rim. If the Trail Blazers want to make a deep run in the playoffs this season, that's a hole they will need to address.
It would be easy for the Trail Blazers to stand pat at the deadline, as they've already done more than enough to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2011. At the same time, though, Aldridge is 28, Matthews is 27, Batum is 25 and Lillard is 23; they are ready to win right now. Nor has Aldridge's long-term status been resolved. If they lose in the first round, no one is going to care about what happened in November and December
Blazers coach Terry Stotts said recently that he "doesn't anticipate" any roster moves coming.
"We can and we need to improve defensively with what we have now, because I don't anticipate any roster changes," Stotts said. "Our growth is going to have to come from within. Our young players are going to have to continue to improve, our starters are going to have to continue to remain engaged, and we have shown - we would not have the record that we have if it were not for our defense. We have played very good defense in spots, but we have just not been consistent with it."
Those comments fall in line with earlier statements from Blazers owner Paul Allen back in January.
I think we're looking more at internal development, what changes we can make or tweaks we can make. I don't think we're looking at any blockbuster trades or anything like that. Although we always listen.
The Blazers currently have a full 15-man roster.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter