The injury bug has bit the Portland Trail Blazers once again, leaving their depth lacking. Here are 3 current free agents who could come in and help
With key injuries to CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic as well as niggling problems with Derrick Jones Jr and Rodney Hood, the Portland Trail Blazers’ depth has been well and truly tested. Players such as Nassir Little and Harry Giles have been thrown into the fire.
These players have only had limited success; the Blazers need reinforcements.
On top of depth issues, Portland is having a terrible time on the defensive side of the ball. The Portland Trail Blazers rank 27th in defensive rating, the fourth-worst team in the NBA. While the Terry Stotts era hasn’t been known for defensive juggernauts, this version of the Blazers could be the worst yet on defense.
Given these two factors, I have found 3 free agents who may be able to come in and give the Blazers an extra body, along with some much needed defensive help.
1. DeMarre Carroll
We last saw DeMarre Carroll with the Houston Rockets at the end of 2020, but he did not receive an offer for the 2020-21 season. At 34, Carroll will provide some extra veteran experience, having previously played on playoff teams with Utah, Atlanta, Toronto, Brooklyn, and Houston.
Carroll has always had the “3 and D” tag, known for his ability to play good defense and knock down the catch and shoot 3. His best season shooting the 3 came in 2014-15 with the Atlanta Hawks, where he converted 39.5% of his looks.
Defensively he is coming off his best season, according to advanced stats. His two highest stints in terms of defensive rating came with the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets in the 2019-20 season.
2. Andre Roberson
Everyone thinks of one thing when Andre Roberson‘s name is mentioned, his three-point shooting. Yes, while I acknowledge it is bad, a shooting wing player is not a need for the Blazers right now. But someone who can guard the best offensive player on the court at all times? Yes.
It’s not every day you can scroll through the waiver wire and see a man with an NBA all-defensive second-team selection in their back pocket. In 2017, Roberson was given this accolade, and his defensive prowess is known around the league.
However, injuries have derailed his career, with a lingering knee injury keeping him out. He did return during the Orlando bubble last season but didn’t sign back with the team. If Roberson can stay healthy, it might be worth giving him a chance.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Another man who has been maligned during his career for the absence of a three-point shot. But just like the case I made above, we aren’t looking for a sharpshooting corner three-point specialist. We need someone who can defend, and if there is one thing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist does well, it is defending.
Kidd-Gilchrist was taken at #2 in the 2012 NBA draft with the notion that he would develop an offensive game. The defense was there, and he could get easy baskets in transition in college because of it, but he had no half-court offense. It never developed, and he now doesn’t have a job.
If the Blazers are looking for someone to come off the bench and clamp down on the best player on the court, Kidd-Gilchrist could be the man. His combination of length and defensive skill and a career-best defensive rating of 116.2 is enough to entertain the idea.