The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to bounce back this season after a trip to the lottery in 2022, but how will the team look in the next three years?
Bleacher Report assessed each team’s outlook over the next three seasons, and deduced that the Blazers had the 20th best outlook. Here’s their reasoning behind the ranking:
The Portland Trail Blazers went 27-55 last season, but Damian Lillard only played in 29 games (and he may have been physically compromised in those). Assuming he and Jusuf Nurkić enter 2022-23 at 100 percent, Portland should be right back in the hunt for a playoff spot. Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II will provide instant credibility for the defense, and Josh Hart looked ready for a more significant role after he came over in the CJ McCollum deal.
While Bleacher Report feels that the Blazers are ready to re-enter the contender conversation, they wonder whether Lillard’s super max deal will negatively affect the outlook of the team.
Going the “superstar and grit” route with Lillard makes sense, but it’s fair to wonder how far it will carry them, especially since Lillard will be 35 when the three-year window in question is over.
In order to win a championship, you need to find a superstar. Lillard has been that guy for Portland for nearly a decade. Now it’s all about fine-tuning that supporting cast. Changes have been made, and we have no reason to think that these cannot be the necessary tweaks to turn this team yet, but we also don’t have the guarantee that they will be either.