PORTLAND – The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They finished with an overall record of 54-28, earning themselves the fifth seed in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, where they defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals, 4-1.
Despite not making it past the second round, the Blazers have a team full of stars and important role players. Damien Lillard may be one of the NBA ‘s best young stars, and LaMarcus Aldridge is arguably the best player on the team; both of them made the All-Star team last year. Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, and Nicolas Batum are just a few of the other players that make Portland successful.
Trades with the Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets left Portland without a pick in this year’s NBA Draft, even though it’s one of the deepest and most-talented drafts in recent memory. Of course, there’s always a possibility that the Blazers could trade into the draft. They could trade into the first round to try and grab Syracuse’s Jerami Grant, or they could try to trade into the second
round to grab a big man like Patric Young, since he is one of the best defenders in the country, and he could come off the bench as a backup center.
The Blazers need defense pretty badly. Their opponents averaged 102.8 points-per-game last season, ranking 22nd in the league. They were mainly known for offense, as they scored 106.7 points-per-game, the 4th highest in the NBA. This shows that if they were going to trade into the draft, they may try to get a guy like Young, just to help out with their defensive struggles. They could put him in games where they need a stop, or any situation where a higher level of defense is needed. Of course, they weren’t the worst defensive team in the league in 2014, but nevertheless, their defense needs to improve if they want to make it past offensive powerhouses like the Spurs when they get into the postseason.
Overall, I don’t see the Blazers trading into the draft, but they may just try to grab a few guys in free agency. No matter what they decide to do, Portland fans should be excited about where their team is headed. Lillard and Aldridge are going to take this team pretty far, but I don’t think they can take them to the promise land without a few extra pieces being added.
~Victor Hensley (@Frezeal33)