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Setting a Baseline for the Trail Blazer’s Off Season

Eric Griffith joined the weekly podcast to talk about the newest Trail Blazer Nassir Little, and what we might consider reasonable expectations for the Portland Trail Blazer’s off season.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Blazer’s Edge writer Eric Griffith joins the weekly podcast to talk about the newest Trail Blazer, Nassir Little, and prepare for the upcoming NBA free agency period. How will we know if this is a successful off season? What are reasonable expectations for the Blazers given their needs and their constraints? We break it all down before winding up with a discussion about how would Kevin Love fit in on the Trail Blazers?

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Highlights

00:45 Thoughts on the Trail Blazers selecting Nassir Little in the draft. Adding wing depth is a nice thing, seems like other teams were focused on different players and the Blazers were happy that he was available when it was their turn to pick.

3:30 Why was there so much trading during the draft? Teams were really zeroed in on the guys they liked. Teams valued really different things.

5:50 What does choosing Little tell us about where the Blazers are? It is hard to know until we see how soon he plays. Seems like they are investing in a rising young core behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Little has a lot of upside and Blazers once again drafted for upside, like with Anfernee Simons.

9:30 Are several 19 and 20-year olds still on Damian Lillard’s career trajectory?

11:00 Is Little a small forward or a power forward? Seeing him play the four wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

12:53 Is it significant that the Blazers are using a two-way contract again this year? Jaylen Hoard is the first two-way player they have signed since 2017-18.

17:40 It is going to be a really fun Summer League team. Guys may be playing for real rotation minutes in addition to defending their championship.

19:00 Setting a baseline for the Trail Blazer’s off season. What are their top priorities? We go through the top four priorities that Eric wrote about in his article The Perfect Offseason: Blazers top priorities this summer.

21:30 Priority #1 a new, starting-quality forward, someone to replace Nicolas Batum or LaMarcus Aldridge. A baseline for a good starting quality forward is 14-15 points per game, five rebounds. Someone who can score, spread the floor, who can have an impact in the playoffs.

33:00 Priority #2 Bench strength is maintained. It is going to be really hard this season because the key bench players, Seth Curry, Rodney Hood, Jake Layman and Enes Kanter are all free agents. They will need to address it right away since Nurkic is going to be out for half of the year. Some of the bench production may come from internal development, but some most likely needs to come through trade or free agency.

39:30 Priority #3 Players signed with exceptions are retainable. Make offers that you can extend for multiple years so you don’t get players you like, like Enes Kanter, but you can’t afford to resign them. Also, don’t overspend on some players so you can’t resign other players.

43:30 Priority #4 Money is spent (wisely). Don’t overpay someone so much that they will never be able to play to that contract. Also do things in the right order so you don’t end up like the Lakers.

53:00 How would Kevin Love fit on the Trail Blazers? Would that be spending money (wisely)?

What would you consider a successful off season? Let us know in the comments below.

Find Tara @tcbbiggs, Dan @dmarang, and Eric @EricG_NBA