The Portland Trail Blazers have hit a rough patch in recent weeks and their cellar-dwelling defense has not shown any signs of significant improvement as the roster inches closer to full strength. If Portland is unable to get back on track, especially during Damian Lillard’s prime years, is it time for the Blazers to consider a rebuild?
Earlier this week, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley suggested that the Blazers should consider a massive roster reformation in the near future. Buckley cited Portland’s abysmal defense and roster limitations in his analysis.
Sure, championship chasing is the obvious aim, but how is that remotely realistic? The Blazers, who have been knocked out of the first round in three of the past four years, are seeded an unspectacular sixth in the West and fortunate to even be that high. They have a negative scoring differential on the season and rank 15th in the category overall.
The defense is a disaster (29th in efficiency), and the sixth-ranked offense can only do so much to mask the stench from that dumpster fire. Third-leading scorer Norman Powell needs a new contract after this season. So do fourth-leading scorer (and 36-year-old) Carmelo Anthony, former possible-cornerstone prospect Zach Collins, backup big man Enes Kanter and, if he declines a $9.7 million player option, spring-loaded swingman Derrick Jones Jr.
Buckley went on to detail that a roster shift might occur regardless of the Blazers’ willingness to accept it.
The Blazers probably still won’t self-detonate, but the list of reasons to seriously consider it isn’t going away. In fact, that list is growing.
The Blazers currently sit in the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference with a 32-24 record. CJ McCollum and Lillard are under contract through the 2023-24 season. Beyond that, Lillard’s contract contains a player option for the 2024-25 season.
You can read Buckley’s full feature at Bleacher Report.