With the start of the 2021-22 NBA Season less than two weeks away, predictions on the fate of the 30 NBA franchises are coming on strong. Today David Thorpe of TrueHoop weighed in on the chances of each team, including the Portland Trail Blazers.
The coach/pundit/writer seemed to want to be hopeful, but after scanning Portland’s first preseason game, he didn’t see enough to change the Blazers’ fate. He posited that a mid-season trade of some type might be the only way forward, with the only questions being who gets moved and why.
I’m sorry, Blazers fans, but I can’t watch this team and think a major trade won’t be happening this year. Damian Lillard wants to be on a better team than what this team projects to be. Given that, I do like how the Blazers used Jusuf Nurkic in their “get game,” as a facilitator as the ball pings around. He’s good at it and it’s a wise way to good looks that aren’t from Dame and CJ McCollum’s iso-talents. Nurkic got himself into trouble when he worked hard to score for himself (that’s where four of his five turnovers occurred). It’s something we’ve seen before (11 turnovers his final two games last postseason), and if it does not change, if he doesn’t start to see helpers come down to strip him, or if he doesn’t stop knocking guys over as he pivots, it’s easy to see management target him for a trade. Lillard wants someone who can jump to nearly 13 feet while sitting in the dunk spot on offense, along with a high jumping rim protector on defense. Before insisting on a trade, might he suggest a new center? (No, not Cody Zeller.)
For comparison, you can find Thorpe’s analysis of the other 29 teams here. The Blazers have preseason games against the Kings, Suns, and Warriors next Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then open the regular season versus the Kings on Wednesday, October 20th.