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Pelton: Blazers A Candidate to Step Back Next Season

In an ESPN chat, Kevin Pelton gave detailed thoughts about the upcoming Blazers season.

AS Roma Training Session Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

While hopes are high going into the 2016-17 NBA season, not every writer is optimistic about the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN answered some reader questions about the Blazers, among other teams, and he questioned some of the moves that the front office made in the off-season.

When asked about the Blazers possibly taking a step forward, Pelton warned that young teams like Portland tend to regress some after making great strides.

"Even with young teams, teams that exceed expectations tend to take something of a step backwards the next season. Look at Milwaukee last year as a good example."

Pelton was also critical of the talent evaluation skills of General Manager Neil Olshey.

"I'd say my qualms with Portland's offseason were less about the Blazers' strategy and more about the talent identification. It certainly made sense to use their cap space now; I just don't think Evan Turner was a very good use of it because of his inefficiency with the ball in his hands."

Pelton agreed that Maurice Harkless was great value for the team, but questioned the contracts given to Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard. He also warned that if owner Paul Allen does not want to pay a huge Luxury Tax bill for the 2017-18 season, some players may get jettisoned.

Overall, Pelton projected the Blazers would finish third in the Northwest Division, falling behind the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder, despite the Thunder losing superstar Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

[Hat tip to Blazer's Edge reader QyntelWoods (I don't think he's the real Qyntel!), who posted this first in Fanshots]