The Blazers offseason is a pivotal one. Albeit a playoff team, the Blazers are far from contending for the title with their current situation. They need a change but that doesn’t mean that they need to implode and trade Damian Lillard, their franchise player, for first-round picks.
Blazers offseason preview 2021
An upgrade in coaching and adding more size in their lineup could propel Portland from being a borderline playoff team to legit championship contenders.
Let’s take a look at three moves the Blazers should explore this offseason:
Replace Stotts as head coach
Terry Stotts is a fantastic coach for the Blazers—having a record of 402-318 in his entire stint. Not to mention that he also have a great relationship with the players. Since Lillard hit that game-winner against the Rockets in 2014, they have been in the playoffs for eight straight seasons.
Albeit making the playoffs for a long time, the biggest hurdle the Blazers can’t overcome is making it past the second round. They went to the WCF once (in 2019) but ultimately got swept by the Warriors.
If the Blazers are going to contend for the championship, they must explore replacing Stotts as head coach. It may be hard, but necessary. A change in the head coaching job could spark them into having a deep playoff run.
CJ McCollum was having a career year averaging 23.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game with shooting splits of 46/40/81. He was supposed to become a legit all-star candidate until he fractured his foot against the Hawks.
Albeit having a career year, you have to realize that he isn’t the second option that the Blazers need for them to contend for the championship. The iso-loving duo of Lillard and McCollum has finally run its course. Defensively, both are undersized as guards which plays a big factor in their current perimeter struggles.
In 2019, McCollum’s contract was extended to three years worth $100 million which is going to start next season. As you can see, this is a lucrative contract for a superstar-type player already, and CJ is not that despite being one of the best scorers in the league.
While he is still hot, the Blazers should bank in on the possibility of getting another second option who can shoot threes and defend the perimeter, preferably a wing. This gives them more size and defense which they badly need. And trading him means less iso for them.
This move can also give Anfernee Simons more minutes. We all know that he is a certified bucket-getter and he’s still 21 years old. Having a guard rotation with Dame, Powell, and Simons is enough to address their perimeter scoring, and an upgrade in the wing position gives them more size and defense.
Powell gave them more firepower besides CJ and Dame.
Having Powell, the Blazers decided to have a three-guard lineup. This is a big problem defensively because they’re undersized. It’s understandable if you have a defensive center like Gobert guarding the paint. But once they get beat up, the offense encounters Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter which are not elite shot blockers.
Assuming McCollum is traded, re-signing Powell should be a priority in the Blazers offseason. He can provide the scoring that CJ provides, but he’s cheaper and plays solid defense. This season, Powell is averaging 18.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.