Five under-the-radar free agents for the Portland Trail Blazers to consider this offseason

Harry Giles, Sacramento Kings (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harry Giles, Sacramento Kings (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Shabazz Napier, Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

player. 142. Scouting Report. Shabazz Napier. 3. G. . Pick Analysis

Current Situation: 2-year, $3.8 million

Offseason Contract: UFA in 2020 offseason

Because he’s donned six different jerseys since entering the NBA, it’s almost easy to forget that Shabazz Napier is only 28-year-old. He spent two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers — the only team he’s played more than one season on — and given those close ties, a reunion feels plausible.

2019-20’s something of a career year for Napier. He’s tallying career-highs in points (10.3), assists (5.0), rebounds (2.9), steals (1.3), minutes (24.2), and efficiency (55.5 true-shooting percentage). It certainly helps that he was able to start in more games this year than any of his first five years combined. But that’s sure to change in the near future.

According to John Wall himself, he’s “110 percent.” Which, in so many words ensures that Napier is 110 percent sure to be relegated to his backup role. Throw Ish Smith into the occasion, and you could have an odd situation worth monitoring.

From a contractual standpoint, Napier could be a very affordable piece. He’s on the back end of a two-year, $3.8 million deal. And this year’s point guard is headlined by … Fred VanVleet and Jeff Teague. Which means that most starting point guards are locked in.

At this point, Anfernee Simons is probably best-suited as an off-ball two. And the Portland Trail Blazers’ strategy of staggering either Lillard or McCollum’s minutes has yielded negative results in both cases. Finding an operative guard to loosen the load on them is paramount.

One has to go all the way back to 2015-16 to find a season in which Napier had a negative on-off swing.

He’s played a part in orchestrating many of the things this Portland Trail Blazers team needs. They rank No. 30 in turnovers forced; Napier’s been top-10 in steal percentage in two of the last three years. There are also only 29 players to average more deflections per game than Napier (2.3), despite both his limited wingspan and playing time. Pun fully intended, Napier back in Portland doesn’t seem like quite a reach.