The Portland Trail Blazers have made a few moves on the margins since the beginning of free agency this off-season. Though they haven’t made a splash yet, they have filled out their role-playing spots and the bench at a higher level than what we have seen for the last two seasons.
But, we still haven’t seen the blockbuster trade that will really push this team into contending mode. The roster overall is in a good space with more depth and defense than previous years, but as currently constructed, they likely aren’t a top-three seed in the West, meaning that they likely won’t be able to win a series in the playoffs.
The Blazers biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking or shot-creating forwards. The Blazers really only have two true small forwards on the roster at the moment. 21-year-old Nassir Little, who has only played two years in the league, and Robert Covington, who the Blazers play at the four, and who is a role player.
When you look at why the Blazers lost in the recent series against the Denver Nuggets, it was because they had players on the floor who were unable to make plays on offense, or defend their position on the other end.
Here are 3 blockbuster trades the Portland Trail Blazers can make this season
Portland Trail Blazers trade #1 – Tobias Harris for CJ McCollum
For a long time, the biggest issue with this Blazers team is the fit of Damian Lillard with CJ McCollum. This was none more evident than in last year’s playoffs where McCollum struggled and the Blazers went out in six games.
Not being able to alternate their offense from the three-point heavy shot profile that serves them so well during the year, meaning that when McCollum’s shot wasn’t dropping, he was a negative on the court.
Because McCollum is only a league-average defender at best, if his shot isn’t dropping in the playoffs then he finds it hard to contribute. In the regular season, it doesn’t matter as much as he can play make on the second unit and generally be able to get to the offense he wants most of the time.
But, in the playoffs when Lillard plays significantly more minutes and has the ball in his hands almost all the time, McCollum is reduced to a spot-up shooter as he is unable to get to the rim, to the line, or to post opposition players up.
The Blazers need a three or a four who can give them different looks in the playoffs.
Tobias Harris could be that four for this team. At six-foot-eight, with a near seven-foot-wingspan, he has good positional size and is a strong rebounder, he would right away push Covington to the three and newly re-signed Norman Powell to the two.
Though he isn’t a great defender, by bumping down other players while keeping Covington on the court, the Blazers would be bigger and better on defense right away.
Though McCollum is an elite shot creator, his fit with Lillard has only resulted in three series wins in eight seasons. It’s time for a change.
For the Sixers, they get the elite floor spacer that Joel Embiid has needed for so long. With Embiid’s great passing ability and post-up game, he and McCollum are a great fit.