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‘Quick Step Backwards’: Joe Cronin Envisions Bounce Back Year In 2022-23

Joe Cronin spoke with the media following the season.

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

With the Portland Trail Blazers ending the season with a 27-55 record, the team finished with its worst record since the 2005-06 season when it finished in dead last in the league.

That year, the team drafted Brandon Roy and has seen better days since. But the year was not expected to turn out this way, at least according to interim general manager Joe Cronin.

“We want to win,” Cronin said. “We want to be really competitive next year.”

The team’s season slowly unraveled after injuries to several key players including Damian Lillard.

Then, the team officially plummeted when it traded CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans, while Norman Powell and Robert Covington were dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The trades allowed Cronin, who was tabbed interim general manager in December, to restructure the roster around Lillard with new primary pieces, including Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, and the team’s impending first-round pick, which is projected to land in the top 10.

The team did have quite the unique year and there is potential for the team to take a quick step forwards next season if Lillard can stay healthy, Simons can continue to improve and if the draft pick can ingratiate himself into the rotation smoothly.