Does Norman Powell actually improve the Blazers?

Norm Powell vs Denver
Norm Powell gives Portland one of the league's most potent offenses. Photo from DK.

The Portland Trail Blazers are trading for Norman Powell. The Raptors will receive Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr in the trade.

This was a surprise deal. Portland had been linked with Aaron Gordon and a handful of other players, but rumors around Powell were limited.

Having the season of his career, Powell is an exciting addition alongside CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard. He’s shooting lights out from everywhere. He plays solid defense. This gives Terry Stotts an offense capable of blowing any team in the league away.

On the other end, though, this doesn’t address many concerns. Trent and Hood are capable of being good defenders. Powell is far from a liability, but he’s not exactly elite. This is why Gordon looked like such a good fit.

Portland maybe couldn’t outbid the Nuggets for Gordon. This trade deadline is proving to be an arms race across the league, though, and the Western Conference is particularly fierce. The Nuggets have made two significant moves, addressing their weaknesses. Portland has picked up a great talent in Powell, but it’s fair to question if this makes them any better.

Defense still a concern

Fire power was not the Blazers’ concern. Their offense has been dangerous even when McCollum and Nurkic are out. For this team to take the step toward title contention, the defense has to be better. It’s that simple.

Powell doesn’t elevate them as a defensive unit. They still have no one to guard the West’s dominant wing scorers. Their wing depth has been depleted by the sending out Trent and Hood. How much falls on the shoulders of Nassir Little?

There’s reason to dislike this for the Blazers. Given the contract status of Trent and Hood, though, maybe this doesn’t matter too much. They managed to land one of the game’s best non-star scorers without giving up a pick – that’s got to be considered a win.


Only time will tell how Powell and the Blazers works out. This should make them even more fun to watch, but it probably doesn’t improve their title chances.

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About Sam Cox 667 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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