The Portland Trail Blazers were looking to make a trade on the wing to bolster their roster as they continue with their playoff push. Three Words: Norman, Norman, Norman. The Blazers traded away Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood at the trade deadline for Norman Powell from the Toronto Raptors. Trent Jr. still has room to grow, but the Blazers simply were not going to be able to afford his services coming into the off-season. Making the move for Norman Powell was smart.
Norman Powell’s Efficiency
Let’s take a look at the comparison with Trent Jr. At just 22 years old, GT is a great shooter and solid defender. With the Blazers this season, he averaged 15 points, shooting only 41.4% overall and 39.7 from three on 12.8 shots per game. Where he struggles mightily is converting on two-point baskets, shooting only 43.8% from there with the Blazers this season. Powell definitely brings a different dynamic to the team in many facets.
At just 27 years old, Powell is a terrific shooter and extremely versatile defender that should really help the Blazers are both ends of the floor. He’s definitely an upgrade over GT. With the Raptors this season, he averaged 19.6 points on 49.8% shooting overall and 43.9% from three. He also shot 55.2% from two-point range. Powell did this with only taking 13.5 shots per game. He brings playoffs and championship experience (2019), great perimeter defense, and stupendous efficiency that should relieve pressure from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. GT was a great part of rotation, but after one game, Powell has shown an upgrade within the depth chart.
Just on March 17, 2021, Powell had just scored a career-high 43 points against the Pistons on 14-18 shooting, 8-12 from three, and 7-9 from the stripe. Speaking of stupendous efficiency, that’s amazing for such few shots and scoring that many points. Powell has the 12th highest three-point percentage in the league and is 41st in overall field goal percentage. What’s impressive about being 41st in field goal percentage is that most of the people ahead of him are players that operate primarily in the paint (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson, etc.). He has the ability to become a third star with this team, still being early in his prime.
Welcome to Portland, Norman!
The Blazers defeated the Orlando Magic 112-105 with the absence of Dame (left knee contusion) and the return of Jusuf Nurkic after being out since January 14. Powell fit right in. He didn’t shy away from showing out, posting 22 points, two steals, and one block on 7-13 shooting, and 5-7 from three. He kept his poise and let the game come to him. His impact will be vital especially when the playoffs come because he has so much experience and makes winning plays.
I believe the Blazers won in this trade. They acquired an experienced player in his prime that should take this team to new heights. He should be a long-term fit with the team at the small forward position. He still has one more year on his contact, giving the Blazers flexibility with the future of the team. Once Dame returns, we’ll see the complete team with the new acquisition of Powell and the return of Nurk altogether, pushing for a top seed in the gritty Western Conference.