The Portland Trail Blazers have started the season as one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Which 3 trades could they make to improve on that end?
The Portland Trail Blazers have started the season well offensively, piling massive amounts of points on weak teams. But on the defensive end, these same weak teams have piled points back on the Blazers.
Through 11 games, before the matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Blazers rank 26th on that end. The struggles have been mainly in containing teams from the three-point line, and then being worse defending at the rim.
This level of defense may be acceptable against the worst teams in the league, but against stronger teams, the Blazers will get blown out.
Though there have only been 11 games, they may need to make moves to remedy this at the deadline if this trend continues.
Which three trades could the Portland Trail Blazers make to improve their defense?
Trade #1 – Rodney Hood and a protected 1st rounder for Larry Nance Jr.
The biggest issue is the backup four and five that are playing more minutes with Jusuf Nurkic struggling to start the season. Nurkic had family matters that kept him in his home country of Bosnia longer than he would have liked. This, combined with the fact that this is the first regular-season he’s had in 18 months, has meant he has taken a while to get his head and body in the game.
Having to play more minutes with Enes Kanter and even Carmelo Anthony at the five, has meant that the defense has suffered. This isn’t a great defensive team, but the rim protection suffers significantly when Kanter and Melo play more.
Because neither of these guys protects the rim, when they play with Rodney Hood on the second unit, this team struggles for defense inside and out.
In the last 48 hours, a blockbuster trade brought Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers, maybe meaning that big man Larry Nance Jr. is expendable.
Nance is a four-man who can do it all, and with the direction the Cavs may go in with bigs Andre Drummond and Allen, they may look to move him.
Nance has two years left on his deal after this year, so by taking on Rodney Hood, they could clear two years of future salary while also getting a heavily protected first-round pick.
They are struggling for shot creators at the moment at the two and three, so Hood would give them an efficient player in that position.
The Blazers could bring Nance in as a small-ball five or second unit four who is a great passer and improving three-point shooter.
Nance could play in the second unit alongside Melo, and then leave Kanter to alternate first unit minutes with Kanter.
He is just 28, and has shot 36.5 percent from three for the Cavs, an excellent mark for a six-foot-nine big.
Hood is the most likely player to be traded this season, due to his non-guaranteed contract in the second year.