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Defense Looms Large For Blazers’ Backcourt

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Cleaning the Glass’ Jordan Brenner spoke with an Eastern Conference executive about Portland’s guard tandem.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers have carved out a niche in the competitive Western Conference, but do they possess the talent necessary to evolve into a title contender? If that answer is no, what can Portland do to change its fortunes?

Cleaning the Glass’ Jordan Brenner covered those topics and more in a recent article (subscription required) . Along the way, Brenner touched base with three anonymous NBA front office people in regards to the Blazers’ dynamic guard tandem.

The article lands on the idea that Portland might be forced to explore trades that would break up the partnership between Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The article reasons that McCollum is the most likely to be moved of the pair, and also notes that an ideal trade might not exist.

The anonymous Eastern Conference executive in the article lists Portland’s postseason defensive deficiencies as one of the main reasons that the team should explore a trade.

“When you can game plan and play against them in the playoffs, they’re at a disadvantage, because defensively they’re not up to snuff,” says the East exec. “They’re just too small. In the regular season it works; there’s not as much focus on things. In the playoffs, they were playing against Holiday and Rajon Rondo—Holiday just destroyed them in that series. It just hasn’t worked the last two years in the playoffs.”

Brenner goes on to discuss potential trade packages and the hurdles the Blazers face moving forward. You can read the complete article at Cleaning the Glass.