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Trail Blazers Off Season: Putting it All Together

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Blazers made minor improvement in places of need and took a big chance on Hassan Whiteside. Will moving on pay off?

Western Conference Finals - Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

On this edition of the Blazer’s Edge Podcast, Danny returns with exciting personal news and then we step through all of the Portland Trail Blazers’ off season moves. The new-look team will have plenty of interesting story lines. How much will the Blazers miss the departing players, how will the new players fit into the basketball schemes? And what impact will they make in the locker room?

Say “goodbye” to old friends and solid screens, “hello” to more trash talk, more corner threes, and more dunks. Plus, bonus audio of Danny and Tara responding to the big news of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the Clippers.

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00:00 Welcome back and congratulations to newly-engaged Dan

3:30 Evan Turner for Kent Bazemore. Overall it was a surprise that they were able to move three of the 2016 deals. Atlanta happened to be a good fit for Turner and Bazemore seems like a better fit in Portland. Running theme is who is going to play defense?

5:30 Will Bazemore be the piece that ties it all together? He takes corner threes which is something the Blazers have been lacking.

7:00 Bazemore is a guy who has worked very hard to make it in the league. Seems like he will be a good chemistry guy. With the loss of Aminu and Harkless, he’s likely the best perimeter defender on the team.

10:30 Was anyone anticipating this much change? Not likely. Everything seems to make sense though.

11:30 Rodney Hood wanted to be here and he showed that by taking less than he could have somewhere else.

15:00 How does Jusuf Nurkic’s contract look in retrospect? Is he outplaying his contract (even with the injury)? Dan thinks Nurkic’s contract is one of the 10 best non-superstar non-rookie contracts in the league. In fact, they are doing pretty well with the smaller contracts, which is good because we know how things look at the top of the pay scale.

17:00 Aminu moving on makes perfect sense. Taken individually they all make sense, it was just shocking that they all happened at once.

19:30 What is Mario Hezonja going to be like? He has some natural European passing flair, he’s a talker in the locker room, and he talks trash on the floor. He’s going to make things fun. Will he play much? With Jake Layman gone, it is likely he will get some run right away. They might toy with the idea of him playing power forward. Hoping coach Terry Stotts sprinkles his magic three-point-shooting fairy dust on him. Minor improvements in major deficiencies like corner threes could make a big difference.

27:30 What is Anthony Tolliver going to bring to the team? If you can hit threes and not be a jerk in the locker room, you’ll have a long career in the NBA. He’s someone you don’t need to worry about. Could he be a good mentor to some of the younger players? He’s different from Damian Lillard in that he has been on a lot of teams. Lillard has all the wisdom and experience with this team, but Tolliver has seen how things work around the league.

32:00 The addition of Hassan Whiteside and the loss of Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless, how much is that going to shake up the team? Is it going to be easier to move one big contract that it would have been to move two smaller ones? In Portland he will have a clear role. Will he be moveable at the trade deadline? And can he set screens? Whiteside is not shy about screening, he’s just not a wall like Leonard and Nurkic.

41:00 What is a black hole in basketball and what are the different levels of being a black hole? It means when the ball goes to someone, it doesn’t come back out. Someone who is a black hole tends to finish possessions. Wesley Matthews was like that. Ed Davis was like that.

43:30 Best case scenario for Whiteside and Collins pairing in the front court. There is a lot of potential for shot blocking. They will need to play off of each other. A lot of players are not going to want to come into the paint with Whiteside waiting there and Collins helping.

46:00 Are there favorable comparisons between Whiteside and Ed Davis? They both had that old school big man mentality. Collins might pick up the passing. He showed some nice ability at the end of the season.

50:00 Real potential for dunks from Whiteside. He’s going to need to catch all the alley-oop passes at the beginning of the year so he builds up trust.

51:00 What are the opportunities going to be for Gary Trent Jr and Skal Labissiere this season? They are so thin in the front court and Collins and Whiteside will probably get in foul trouble, so Labissiere could get a real shot. Overall, this season is going to be about opportunities.

60:00 When is the right time to unfollow players or adjust google notifications once a player moves on?

60:06 Bonus reactions to the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George news.

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