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ESPN Says Blazers Did Decently at NBA Trade Deadline

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Portland’s moves weren’t as spectacular as hoped, but ESPN calls them passable.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers acquired Rodney Hood and Skal Labissiere at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline. The moves weren’t flashy: Anthony Davis was nowhere to be found; Nikola Mirotic and Otto Porter went elsewhere. But ESPN gave the Blazers more-than-passing grades for the transactions, reasoning that the price wasn’t high and the upside was measurable.

Evaluating the Rodney Hood for Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin IV, and second-round draft picks deal, Kevin Pelton of ESPN dissects the decline of Stauskas (subscription required). He explains Portland’s early-season success playing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum together, letting Evan Turner run the second unit.

Stauskas’ strong start was a key part of that success. Starting with a 24-point Blazers debut in a home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Stauskas averaged 10.1 PPG on 46.4 percent 3-point shooting in October. During November, he was decent, making 36 percent of his 3s. But since then, Stauskas has hit just 26 percent from beyond the arc, losing his rotation spot to the surging Jake Layman. And with Stauskas struggling, so too have Portland’s lineups with neither starting guard.

Pelton asserts that the Blazers want to keep their starting guards on the floor together. When Stauskas wasn’t cutting it, they made a move.

So instead, the Blazers will try to upgrade their second-unit scoring punch with the addition of Hood, whose 16.0 points per 36 minutes this season would rank fourth on Portland’s roster behind Lillard, McCollum and starting center Jusuf Nurkic.

Pelton awards the Blazers a B- for the deal. He gives the Cavaliers a B+ for salvaging draft picks from a player they weren’t going to re-sign.

Pelton also drew Portland’s swap of Caleb Swanigan for Labissiere (subscription still required) He ranks the move as a B for the Blazers, a C+ for the Kings. After citing Swanigan’s lack of development in Portland, he evaluates Labissiere’s potential:

Labissiere provides a slightly different look at the position. As a highly touted prep prospect, his game reminded me of former Portland All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Obviously, Labissiere hasn’t developed like that. He’s shot a credible 36 percent on 3s in 70 attempts -- right at NBA average -- but made just 46 percent of his 2-pointers last season, continuing to rely too much on 2-point attempts outside the paint.

Hood scored 14 points on 6-7 shooting in his Portland debut as the Blazers downed the San Antonio Spurs.

Both of Pelton’s pieces go into greater detail on the players Portland picked up and traded away.