clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Can The Portland Trail Blazers Return To Relevance?

The Trail Blazers experienced the biggest talent turnover of any NBA team in the 2015 offseason. What will they look like in the 2015-16 season, and how can they regain ground?

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst their all-inclusive 30-team marathon of NBA previews, SBNation’s Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller examine the Portland Trail Blazers and what it will take for the franchise to return to relevance. A new genesis wrought by free agent exodus has left a team of mostly fresh faces looking for direction. The following is an excerpt from the Flannery/Ziller back-and-forth on the matter:

FLANNERY: […] The key appears to be Noah Vonleh. No one really knows what to make of him after a wasted rookie season in Charlotte and one year of college. If he's the goods, they're on their way. If he's merely decent or serviceable, they've got a much longer climb in front of them. That's a lot to put on a 20-year-old with barely 250 minutes on his resume. The rest of the additions range from enigmatic to intriguing. If nothing else, this might finally the year we get a true sense of Ed Davis.

What about Dame. Do you think he's ready for all of this?

ZILLER: Personality wise? Absolutely. Everything we've seen indicates he's a mature, smart and, most importantly, hard-working lead-by-example guy. (I'm sure Aldridge and Wes rubbed off on him.) On the court? He can be a 25-8 guy I think. Where trouble comes is defensively, especially with Nicolas Batum, Arron Afflalo and Matthews gone. Dame's numbers should rise, but his defensive struggles are really going to be exposed.

That's the area where Neil Olshey really has to look next: getting Dame some shooting (C.J. McCollum is that dude) and wing defense.

Eager to hear your Dame thoughts. It also strikes me that the bones of the 2007 dynasty Blazers team are now completely gone.

The full discussion can be found here, at To read their musings about other NBA teams, visit the Flanns & Zills archives, here.