The Portland Trail Blazers recorded a breakaway season in 2013 – 2014. After years of struggle, Rip City made it as far as the Western Conference Semis only to fall to the later on NBA Champions, San Antonio Spurs. Despite their loss, the Blazers should feel proud about their team and very optimistic about their future. Here’s why.
The Portland Trail Blazers now have their own Big Three. Damian Lillard emerged as one of the elite point guards in the NBA during the 2013 – 2014 season, which was just his second one in the league. The 23 – year old guard is only getting better and in fact, he is now considered a franchise player for the Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge proved once again that he is an All-Star caliber player. Together with Lillard he formed a powerful superstar duo, one which led the Blazers on offense. Nicolas Batum is the third member of this star trio. The Frenchman guard showcased his perimeter defending skills and he was also a big factor on the offensive end for Portland.
Young assets – Trade chips
The Portland Trail Blazers can now hope for an even better future. The team possesses several young players in its roster, players who can be developed and improve as they grow. Apart from Lillard, C.J. McCollum is another youngster who showed promising signs last season. The 22 – year old former 10th overall pick appeared in just 38 games during the season but those were enough for him to showcase his potential. Thomas Robinson, Will Barton and Meyers Leonard are three more young players who could either be developed or work as trade chips in potential deals for Portland this summer. In fact, there are several rumors hinting that the Blazers are exploring trade scenarios, mainly with an aim to improve their starting center spot.
A star away from championship contention
The Portland Trail Blazers do have a great starting lineup. And although Mo Williams just recently decided to opt out of his contract, the Blazers still have a serviceable bench. What the Blazers are lacking, what they need to really make the difference is another star. And whilst Rip City doesn’t have a first round pick in the upcoming draft, they could still work a deal out, with either Robin Lopez or Wesley Matthews or Robin Lopez as the centerpieces. Both Lopez and Matthews are on affordable contracts and both of them are young and skillful.
So, what we may see the Blazers performing this summer is a trade for a star. In fact, there is some speculation about Rip City’s interest in Roy Hibbert, who recorded a not so great season with the Indiana Pacers. If the Blazers manage to add another impactful player, they will certainly be one of the strongest title contenders from the Western Conference.
The Portland Trail Blazers make their presence felt last season and now, they will have the opportunity to take the next step. With a few offseason moves, Rip City will be able to look the best teams of the West, like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City, straight in the eye. Look for the Blazers to come back stronger next season.