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ESPN Grades The Blazers’ Off-Season

Kevin Pelton gives Portland a C- for their summer acquisitions, which includes the draft and free agency.

NBA: Summer League-Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The national media has been (unsurprisingly) unimpressed with the Portland Trail Blazers off-season to this point. And while there has been some optimism among the team’s fanbase regarding this June’s draft picks, Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr., the same cannot be said about the team’s free agent pick-ups (outside of the re-signing of Jusuf Nurkic), or the departure of Ed Davis.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton ranked every Western Conference team’s off-season*, and gave the Blazers a C-, reasoning:

After getting swept out of the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, the Blazers brought back their starting five but made over their bench. Center Jusuf Nurkic, a restricted free agent, signed a new four-year deal with $40 million guaranteed that seems reasonable for both sides. However, Portland lost reserves Pat Connaughton, Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier in free agency.

Presuming he’s able to avoid a recurrence of the stress injuries that wiped out his 2017-18 season, Seth Curry should be able to replace the shooting and playmaking provided by Connaughton and Napier. Filling the void left by Davis’ departure will be up to second-year players Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, who might not be up to the task.”

Of course, the team will get a chance to prove the pundits wrong when the regular season tips-off in October, but given their tough schedule out of the gate, combined with an improved Western Conference, it will likely be an uphill climb.

*Note that you will need an ESPN+ account to access the full article.