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Should the Trail Blazers Try to Keep Norman Powell?

One of Portland’s best wings is a free agent, but he’s likely to be expensive. Keep him or let him go?

2021 NBA Playoffs - Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have an interesting trade and free agency period ahead in the Summer of 2021. They’ll need to make several decisions regarding their current roster, including how much they value nearly every member thereof.

In preparation for the Big Summer, Dave Deckard and Dia Miller of the Dave and Dia Podcast are asking each other, and you, whether to “Keep or Yeet” each member of the team.

The concept is pretty much like it sounds. Take one Blazers player. Do you keep him around for next season or show him the door?

We hasten to point out that voting “Yeet” (colloquially: to toss away with authority, somewhat gleefully) does not mean that Dave and Dia dislike the player, think the player has no talent, or regret the player being a Blazer. There can be a thousand reasons to yeet your resident shooting guard, only some of which have to do with him.

Similarly, voting “Keep” does not indicate that Dave and Dia think the player is perfect, just that the reasons for keeping him outweigh the reasons for letting him go.

Last week we covered CJ McCollum. Both Dave and Dia put him in the “yeet” column. How will fellow wing Norman Powell fare this week?

Norman Powell: Keep or Yeet?

Dia: well, you made me Yeet CJ McCollum in the last post. Yes I blame you, and no I’m still not over it. So if we are letting go of him (very reluctantly, and I might actually change my mind and chase him down), then I want to keep Norm. He’s only been with us for a short time since we got him in a mid-season trade, but he seems to have settled right in and is already a difference maker in my opinion. He plays well with our key players, and he’s winning over the hearts of Rip City left and right. This is a really big keep for me. Now, whether or not we will be able to is a whole different question, but I hope we will do everything possible to hold on to him.

Dave: I suspect the two go hand-in-hand, like similar polarity magnets. If the Blazers keep CJ, I don’t see Norm staying. He’s a starting shooting guard, not a small forward. He’s a second option in an offense, not a third. He had moments in the three-guard starting lineup, enough to show that he could drive downhill and bring a new wrinkle to Portland’s attack. But he never looked comfortable with his surroundings or shot. His three-point percentage dropped from .439 in Toronto to .361 in Portland. That NEVER happens to the Blazers. The three-point percentage of their forwards always shoots way upward. (cf. Al-Farouq Aminu, Trevor Ariza, et al.) At small forward, Powell can’t do the one thing that makes him valuable to the Blazers: defend from the backcourt. It’s just not a good fit unless he plays the two.

Do you see any way the Blazers keep all three guards? Would you want them to?

Dia: I said in our last post that I would let go of CJ. I almost immediately regretted it simply because I’m such a huge fan. That being said, I think it’s at the point where it’s pretty much inevitable. I don’t think there is any way we can keep all three, and CJ is a trade asset, where Norm isn’t. It makes more sense from that standpoint to trade CJ and try to hold onto Norm. I liked the three guard lineup that we played the second half of the season, but I also think change is coming—and it needs to.

Dave: I agree. Keep Norm if you can! Otherwise holding onto CJ is a near-necessity. But I don’t see any way the Blazers pay $100 million for a trio of McCollum, Powell, and Damian Lillard. They can’t afford it, and neither can the players involved.

What about you, Blazer’s Edge Readers? Do you keep or yeet Norman Powell? How closely do you think his fate is tied to that of CJ McCollum? Share your thoughts in the comments below!