The Portland Trail Blazers have some talented, young projects bottoming out their roster. How many of them deserve a chance to return beyond 2019-20?
If there does come a time during the Orlando trip in which the Portland Trail Blazers are running a lineup comprised of the likes of Jaylen Hoard, Moses Brown and (perhaps) Jaylen Adams, it will be one of the most important sequences of the season. For one or two reasons:
a) it would mean the Blazers established took care of business and established an insurmountable lead … or they got blown out of a gym — a dicey proposition given the margin of error in games.
b) it could mean they were either eliminated from Playoff contention, rendering it unnecessary to play the likes of Lillard and McCollum … or, it could mean they played with a sense of urgency, locked themselves into a play-in game earlier than expected, and bought valuable rest time for their main pieces.
Common sense tells us that the Portland Trail Blazers’ rotation will be Joel-Embiid-post-Orlando-trip thin when the more consequential games begin. Terry Stotts has said as such. One can’t predict it down to a tee, but recent Blazers Playoff history and coaching tendencies suggests it could be in the 9, 10-man range.
But, what happens in Florida won’t stay in Florida. So, we would be wise to start thinking about what the Blazers’ roster could look like beyond this season.
As it stands today, Portland — which could be strapped for cash this offseason — has three unrestricted free agents in Hassan Whiteside, Carmelo Anthony and Caleb Swanigan. One other major factor comes in how little cap space Portland could have if Rodney Hood and Mario Hezonja opt into their deals. With that in mind, finding capable players to bottom out that roster will be of major focus.
Today’s thought centers around those aforementioned three names: Jaylen Hoard, Moses Brown and Jaylen Adams. They’ve produced in spurts. But are there enough evident, positive marks for them to remain on the team? Today, we predict.