The Trail Blazers’ earned solid reviews for the series of transactions they executed over the past week. At the top of that praise-worthy list is the addition of two-way forward Robert Covington, a 29-year-old that is only two seasons removed from a NBA All-Defensive Team nod.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Zach Lowe delivered his take on the Blazers’ high-profile move. Citing the Blazers’ penchant for porous defense, Lowe explained that the former Rockets forward might be the ideal remedy.
Covington might be the perfect piece to lock everything into its proper place. Trevor Ariza sitting out the bubble forced Portland to cobble a forward rotation from spare parts. The Blazers managed. Carmelo Anthony proved the doubters (this one included) wrong. But it was not sustainable. Portland was helpless on defense.
Covington is the prime 3-and-D guy this roster craves. Collins should grow into a plus defender. Give Nurkic more help on the perimeter, and he can stanch some bleeding.
Lowe went on to highlight that coach Terry Stotts finally has a roster that features a litany of lineup options and that flexibility could lead to favorable results.
The Blazers can play big — with Covington, Collins, and Nurkic — or downsize, with all four of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr., and Covington on the floor.
Can Terry Stotts construct a league-average defense from this group? He has done it before. Do it again, this team could chase the No. 3 seed and — with a speck of luck — end up in its second conference finals in three seasons.
You can check out Lowe’s offseason assessment in its entirety at ESPN+ (subscription required).