The Trail Blazers, along with the rest of the teams in the NBA, are set to return to action in the coming hours and days. Prior to the opening buzzer, Yahoo Sports NBA contributor Ben Rohrbach put together a list of the 10 biggest developments from the offseason. Alongside topics like the Jrue Holiday trade and the Wall-Westbrook swap, the Blazers’ team-wide improvements were also mentioned.
Rohrbach explained that the Blazers’ already-promising core received a considerable boost in the lead up to the 2020-21 season.
The Blazers were one of the most thrilling teams in the bubble, just as they had previously been when Jusuf Nurkic was healthy alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Just about everyone is back for Portland, including Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood, along with some reinforcements from a busy offseason.
Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey traded Trevor Ariza’s expiring contract and a lottery-protected first-round pick for Robert Covington. He will be joined by free-agent signing Derrick Jones Jr. on a wing depth chart that should be Portland’s best in recent memory. With Hassan Whiteside leaving, Olshey reacquired Enes Kanter, their backup center from the 2019 Western Conference finals run, and took a minimum contract flier on Harry Giles, the former No. 1 prep prospect who has been plagued by injuries.
According to Rohrbach, that combination of moves could put the Blazers back in elite company in the competitive Western Conference.
They fill out a roster that is rife with talent, including the return of Zach Collins, Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons. Portland should reestablish itself among the Western Conference elite after a disappointing first-round exit as an injury-riddled eighth seed. The bar for the Blazers is reset no lower than a top-four seed.
Last season, after navigating a year full of noteworthy injuries, the Blazers finished with 35 wins in the regular season. Once in the NBA’s Orlando-based bubble, coach Terry Stotts’ squad recorded a 6-2 record and claimed the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
The Blazers’ preseason schedule gets underway tonight against the Kings. On Dec. 23, the Jazz visit Portland to open the regular season schedule.
You can read Rohrbach’s complete list at Yahoo Sports.