Portland Trail Blazers: 3 reasons retaining Norman Powell is a great move

Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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The Portland Trail Blazers inked three players on day one of free agency, and re-signing Norman Powell was by far the most important move made.

The Blazers traded away young star Gary Trent Jr., who just re-upped with the Toronto Raptors for three years, $18 million per season, and Rodney Hood for Powell and his Bird rights. With that exception, they were able to operate over the salary cap to retain him.

Here’s why re-signing Norman Powell might be the most important thing that General Manager Neil Olshey and the Blazers brass do all offseason:

1. Norman Powell was a key piece for the Portland Trail Blazers last year

After landing in Portland, Powell oftentimes looked like the Blazers second-best player behind Damian Lillard.

He was the team’s third-leading scorer behind Dame and CJ McCollum, averaging only six less points than CJ while shooting just under six less times per game.

He’s by far the most effective and willing slasher on the team, the only other player besides Lillard who consistently got to the hoop and collapsed the defense.

In their first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets last playoffs, Norman Powell proved that he should be the second-option for the Blazers. He maintained his 17 points per game in the postseason and actually increased his efficiency despite the heightened stakes. He well outplayed Portland’s incumbent Robin in CJ McCollum.

According to stathead, the Blazers starting five last year with Dame, CJ, Powell, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic was the fourth most effective five-man group in all of the league. Returning all of those key pieces gives Portland their best chance at competing for a title, even if not all of those players finish the season on the roster.