The Trail Blazers endured a four-game sweep at the hands of the Pelicans to finish their 2017-18 campaign. According to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, more trouble could be ahead for Portland. Buckley listed the Blazers as one of five teams that are destined to take a step back this offseason.
Buckley explained Portland’s placement on the list by pointing at the continued questions about the backcourt and the lack of financial flexibility:
Their roster is flawed. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum contribute 48.0 points per game, and there’s still the wonder if that’s enough because they’re such a mess on defense. The wing rotation is overpaid ($28.7 million for Evan Turner and Maurice Harkless next season) and underwhelming. The center spot needs more shooting and/or shot-blocking.
But the Blazers don’t have money to address these deficiencies. In fact, with Ed Davis, Jusuf Nurkic, Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton entering free agency, Portland is likely building its priority list with the knowledge it can’t keep all of them.
Despite amassing a 90-74 combined regular season record over the past two seasons, the Blazers have gone a paltry 0-8 in postseason play since handing out lucrative contracts in the summer of 2016. With a loaded payroll and little playoff success to show for it, Portland must undertake the cumbersome task of upgrading its roster with limited resources this offseason.