Trade #3 – Ball and Willy Hernangomez for Rodney Hood and Anfernee Simons
The last of the three trades would involve Willy Hernangomez coming to Portland with Ball, and Anfernee Simons going to the Pelicans with Hood.
Though Ball is the main part of this trade, the Blazers could bring in the third backup big they need for this season in Hernangomez. With Nurkic injured, he could be a break-glass option if either Giles or Enes Kanter got injured or in foul trouble.
By adding Simons, the Blazers wouldn’t need to use a first-round pick. Though it would be disappointing to say goodbye to the young Simons who has grown this year, he isn’t a great fit as a bench playmaker.
Simons cannot create shots for others, and is a poor defender, so he isn’t an ideal fit with the Blazers bench players.
By effectively swapping Simons for Ball, the Blazers would bring in an elite defensive guard.
Ball’s strength is his excellent man defense. At six-foot-six with a six-foot-eight wingspan, he has elite size at the point guard position. Like Trent, Ball activity on defense is excellent. He can get over or around screens, and is adept at chasing shooters around off-ball.
Ball is great at forcing turnovers, while also being able to help off the ball. Every year of his career, he has finished in the top 25 percent of combo guards when blocking shots.
Ball could play alongside Trent in the bench unit, or slot in next to CJ or Dame when either is sitting. Because of his ability to defend, he is a great fit next to any of the three guards that would be left on the Blazers roster.
The Blazers need defensive help ASAP. They are the third-worst team in the league on that end, and are treading water in the West standings. This team can’t wait any longer.