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Shifting Lineups, Shifting Roles

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Where will the assists come from next season? Tara and Dan take a look at shifting roles for young Trail Blazers. We also talk to Daniel Hardee of Golden State of Mind about the new-look Warriors.

Western Conference Semifinals - Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

One thing that we know about the upcoming Portland Trail Blazers’ season is that lineups will be different. They are looking to add another backup big man. They have new shooters. They need more facilitators. On this episode we look at who will make up for the assists that the departing players used to get each game. Can Hassan Whiteside learn to facilitate more? Will Zach Collins step into that role? Will Mario Hezonja the point-forward be released?

Then we talk to Daniel Hardee from Golden State of Mind about the new-look Golden State Warriors. Which of the many changes will be most impactful? How will the basketball change? Why are they retiring Kevin Durant’s number?

All this and more on the latest episode of the Blazers Edge podcast.

Download the episode

Highlights

1:00 Anfernee Simonscool new logo.

3:00 CJ McCollum will not try out for Team USA. It will be Damian Lillard’s team and when it comes to legacy, these kinds of things help.

7:00 Should we be concerned about wear and tear on Lillard? He knows how to manage himself, he will be fine.

9:00 These kinds of opportunities are good for players because you get to be together in basketball situations and learn from each other.

10:30 According to Jason Quick of the Athletic, the Blazers are looking for a backup big man. Joakim Noah would fit into the city and the team and basketball wise would be a good fit with a good record of facilitation. However, Greg Monroe and Dwight Howard have both been brought up lately and they are both players the Blazers have chased before.

15:00 Noah grew up facilitating, Dan would like to see Nurkic get to this level/frequency of playmaking from the center.

17:00 What would the Dwight Howard experience be like? Would Howard and Whiteside be too much on one team. Whiteside is at his best when he gets lots of minutes, how would adding one of these players affect him?

20:00 Whiteside’s assists in 2016-17 seemed like they were better quality than his assists in 2018-19, there were more variety and part of the offense as opposed to tosses at the end of plays. Will Whiteside go back to this more useful type of offense?

23:30 Blazers lost a lot of assists with the players who left. How are those going to be made up? It is going to be a lot of fine tuning, but they lost 45% of their assists, it needs to be more than just tweeks. Dan thinks Simons and Hezonja will see more assists. Tara thinks Collins will add one assist or so per game.

31:30 It is going to be a different look offense this season. They will probably live with more mistakes from their younger players like Simons and Collins. This is to grow for the future. It might be rough, but it is building towards something.

36:00 One thing that almost always seems like a sure thing is that the Blazers will see the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. Tara caught up with Daniel Hardee (@DHardee_SBN) of GoldenStateofMind.com to find out how fans are reacting to all of the off-season changes.

40:00 Big questions for the Warriors: will D’Angelo Russell work? Which was harder, saying goodbye to Kevin Durant or Andre Iguodala? Will Willie Cauley-Stein change things in the center? How are they going to adjust to being so short handed? This will be one of the most legacy-defining seasons for Steph Curry, can he put together another MVP season?

48:00 How will Curry react when he is facing the same kinds of double-teams that Lillard has been facing? There won’t be as many options for Golden State any more.

53:00 It is early, but we are starting to think about what our expectations this year? It is going to be extra hard because there have been so many changes.

55:30 Year three is going to be a big deal for Zach Collins.

58:00 Watch for Anfernee Simons on the Outsiders this week!

Follow on Twitter: @blazersedge, @tcbbiggs, @dmarang, @DHardee_SBN