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Applying a Crystal Ball to the Trail Blazers Future

After Damian Lillard is traded, what next?

Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers and their fans are waiting for progress on the Damian Lillard trade front. Relatively little ink has been spent on what happens after, though. In a sense, that’s appropriate. Trading Lillard will reshape the team beyond recognition. But one hopeful wants to know what it’ll amount to. That’s the subject of today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag.


Assuming Dame gets traded and we don’t get a star in return but some draft picks, where do you see this team going? This year is going to be hard but with Grant, Scoot, and Shaedon do you see the makings of a contender already? How do you think this all turns out in the upcoming new generation?


It’s an interesting question, and of course too early to tell. The talent is tantalizing, but the variables are huge and unknown. Forget those future draft picks and positions not yet filled. Look at the players the Blazers will be banking on.

Scoot Henderson becomes the centerpiece. He’s got talent and athleticism to burn. He hasn’t got a reliable three-point shot, which is going to make him easier for defenders to handle. He’s going to spend a while driving into, and passing out of, crowded real estate. How he negotiates that remains to be seen, as does the development of the threat from distance that will brand him as a full-powered NBA point guard. Either way, he hasn’t yet played a game in the league.

Shaedon Sharpe has played a few. He’s not raw anymore, but he’s still rare enough that you can almost hear the mooing. He could turn out to be the next Kobe or the next Gerald Green. Both comparisons have been made already. Likely he’ll fall somewhere in the middle, but where is anyone’s guess.

Anfernee Simons should be mentioned here. He’s an offensive wizard. Will he ever become a complete player?

Jerami Grant is the most well-rounded and proven of the bunch. He’s also the oldest. The question isn’t whether Grant will contribute this year. He’ll probably be the key to any success Portland has. What will he look like three years from now when Henderson is entering his fourth season, Simons is in his prime, and Sharpe has either proven himself or settled in at a more comfortable level?

Again, these are the stalwarts of the team, the centerpieces. We haven’t even addressed the asteroid field of a supporting cast scattered around these planets.

The challenging, and frankly exciting, part of this evolution is that we no longer have any earthly idea what the Blazers will look like. After half a decade of being relatively sure, we’re about to embark into the great unknown.

I’m sorry that my vision and wisdom don’t go further than that, but at this point, I don’t think anybody’s does. We’re all going to find out together, for good or ill. But hey, that’s what fandom is all about.

Thanks for the question! You can send yours to and we’ll try to answer as many as we can!