The Trail Blazers slipped in a three-team trade that landed Larry Nance Jr. just before the cutoff for ESPN’s offseason grades. Unsurprisingly, Nance Jr. helped boost the Portland’s results in the eyes of ESPN contributor Kevin Pelton.
Pelton awarded the Blazers with a B- grade. Inside the list, Pelton explained that last week’s trade boosted a pedestrian summer in Portland.
A sleepy Portland offseason, at least in terms of adding to a roster that came up short against Denver in the first round, was shaken up by last week’s trade sending out a protected first-rounder and Derrick Jones Jr. for Larry Nance Jr. Nance should prove an ideal fit backing up multiple frontcourt positions and providing more shooting and playmaking than Jones.
Outside of the changes on the roster, Pelton also pointed to the move that the Blazers made at the front of the bench.
The other big move for the Blazers was replacing longtime head coach Terry Stotts with first-timer Chauncey Billups. Given Stotts’ successful track record, Portland is taking a risk. With star Damian Lillard openly questioning his future with the organization, the Blazers need Billups to prove an immediate upgrade.
The Clippers and Warriors earned the highest marks in Pelton’s analysis of the Western Conference. Both teams received A- grades. You can read the full story from Pelton at ESPN+ (subscription required).