The Portland Trail Blazers have two open roster spots and have signed four different veterans to participate in their training camp as an extended tryout for the remaining positions.
Dennis Smith Jr., Marquese Chriss, Patrick Patterson, and Quinn Cook will all compete for the remaining two slots. The Blazers could go an entirely different route and sign unexpected free agents for the 2021-2022 season, or they could leave the slots open to better assess their needs once the season begins, as well.
Most likely though, the Blazers will select two of their four training camp veterans to add to the roster.
Pros and cons of each veteran the Portland Trail Blazers have signed to their training camp
Each of these veterans brings different skills to the table — and different weaknesses. Here we’ll evaluate how each player can affect the team if they were to get a deal.
1. Pros and cons of Dennis Smith Jr.
Pros: Slashing, playmaking, athleticism
Cons: Injury prone, unproven, unreliable shooter
Dennis Smith Jr. has the highest ceiling out of all the players competing for a spot with the Blazers. Still only 23 years old, Dennis Smith Jr. was a lottery pick just four years ago.
He was selected with the ninth overall pick due to his top-tier athleticism and shot creation abilities. Since coming into the league, however, he’s been unable to stay on the court and avoid injuries. The few games he’s played, he’s struggled with both his jump shot and his finishing at the rim.
Despite his injuries, a healthy DSJ would still fill the most need for the Blazers, as the team severely needs another floor general aside from Damian Lillard.
General Manager Neil Olshey will have to weigh the risk of DSJ’s injury history, as well as his inconsistency, against the promise that Smith Jr. still holds.
Since he would just be the 14 or 15th man on the squad, Olshey might deem the reward to be worth the minimal risk.