The NBA offseason is upon us, and now the focus for the Trail Blazers will revolve around improving their roster with limited flexibility. In a continuation of his offseason series, ESPN’s Bobby Marks advocates for Portland to take a patient approach this summer.
Marks frames his argument around the inflated expectations that the Blazers have faced after enjoying success immediately after LaMarcus Aldridge’s move to the Spurs.
For starters, the roster was constructed after 80 percent of the team was traded or left (like All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge) in 2015 after peaking too soon.
A team many thought would finish in the lottery won 44 games in 2015-16, defeating an injury-depleted LA Clippers team in the first round to advance to the semifinals.
The bar after that season was set too high, similar to what the Indiana Pacers will face next season.
Fast-forward to this season, and the projected win total before the season started indicated a lottery finish. Instead, the second-youngest team in the NBA would win 49 games and finish third in the West. Yes, a team that was swept in the first round overachieved.
Due to those heightened expectations, Marks suggests that the Blazers should avoid making a franchise-altering move this summer. According to Marks, Portland should be cautious about any trades that involve CJ McCollum.
Sure, Portland could use CJ McCollum and the remaining $82 million left on his contract to shake up the roster. Moving the borderline All-Star could get you a player like Harrison Barnes or Hassan Whiteside. But filling a need at small forward or center would only leave you exposed at shooting guard.
McCollum and his backcourt partner Lillard should not be trade casualties because of the shortcomings in the playoffs this season.
Instead of searching for a trade that involves McCollum, Marks suggests that the Blazers should continue to make savvy moves and develop from within.
How the Trail Blazers will improve is through the development of 2017 first-round pick Zach Collins, buying in to the second round, and relying on their personnel department to find the next Shabazz Napier or, in the case of the Utah Jazz, Royce O’Neale. Napier is an example of a player whom teams had given up on, and O’Neale was an undrafted player that bounced around Europe for two seasons.
You can read Marks’ full breakdown of the Portland’s offseason options by clicking here.