Following another early-postseason exit, serious short-term and long-term questions have surfaced for the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard’s recent comments on Portland’s roster have combined with a limited asset pool to put the Blazers in a tough spot. The hurdles that the Blazers face took center stage in Bleacher Report’s three-year power rankings forecast.
Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil placed the Blazers at No. 23. In the rankings, Dakhil focused on Portland’s lack of marquee trade pieces.
The only real chance to upgrade the roster is through trading CJ McCollum and maybe Jusuf Nurkic. Portland has never really been a free-agent destination, and next season the Blazers have $131 million already on the books. They will have to look to the trade market to make a leap, and that does not seem likely.
In regard to the Blazers’ pipeline of young prospects, Dakhil delivered mixed reviews.
Portland’s best young prospect is Anfernee Simons, who has not really burst onto the scene. Beyond that, its core is beginning to hit their 30s. The Blazers have not been preparing for a post-Lillard era, and that is understandable because they were looking to build around him.
But now with Lillard’s future up in the air, the Blazers will have to begin planning for their next phase.
You can read Dakhil’s complete three-year forecast at Bleacher Report.