Amidst the Portland Trail Blazers struggles to start the 2019-20 season, Andre Snellings of ESPN believes the team needs to make a win-now trade. He named Kevin Love and Danilo Gallinari as two potential trade targets — names that have been thrown around a lot as the Blazers continue to lose.
Thus, I do buy that they should try to make a win-now trade for an impact forward such as Love or Gallinari -- even if that requires giving up some combination of Simons, Little, Collins, first-round draft picks and salary filler. Either Love or Gallinari would help the Blazers regain the floor-stretching, perimeter-finishing balance and have a better chance to compete with the top teams in the West.
Snellings dove into why the Blazers are struggling before offering the two forwards as a potential solution. He examined the isolation-heavy offense, a result of personnel changes from last season.
According to Second Spectrum tracking, Lillard and McCollum are running 13.9 isos per 100 possessions as compared with 12.3 last season, but that alone doesn’t explain the difference. Instead, let’s look to the shot breakdown of the other finishers on the team.
Last season, the four most frequent shooters after Lillard and McCollum were Nurkic, Aminu, Seth Curry and Harkless. Per Second Spectrum, the primary shot types for these four players were off-ball finishing such as catch-and-shoot (20.5% of their shots), standstill layups (15.4%), cut layups (10.9%) or catch-and-shoot relocations (6.0%).
On the other hand, the four most active non-Lillard and non-McCollum shooters this season are Anfernee Simons, Whiteside, Kent Bazemore and Rodney Hood, whose scoring methods are inverted. This season, the secondary scorers are using more isolation play than off-ball finishing, more pull-up jumpers than catch-and-shoots and more driving layup attempts than standing layups.
You can read the rest of Snellings’ analysis here.