Grading Blazers players by position, forecasting next year’s depth chart

Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trailblazers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trailblazers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 5

The Portland Trail Blazers front office will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason regarding the direction of their franchise. With two potential first-round picks and numerous players with expiring contracts, they should have the flexibility to fix some of the current roster’s flaws.

One way to determine their areas of improvement is to evaluate their positional strengths and weaknesses.

This article will provide a grade evaluation of each position, the reason behind the grade, and a look ahead to next season’s possible depth chart.

Point guards: Damian Lillard, Ryan Arcidiacono, Anfernee Simons

Grade: A-

Reasoning: Lillard is having a career year. He’s among the top five in the NBA in scoring, is averaging 32 points a game on 46/37/91 (46 percent overall, 37 percent three, 91 percent free-throw) shooting splits.

He should be in the conversation for first-team All-NBA this season.

The only thing keeping this grade from being even better is the team’s need for more depth at the position. While Simons can also play the part, the Blazers still need to spend the offseason addressing their backup point guard situation, ideally with someone that is defensive-minded and is also a distributor.

Shooting guards: Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Cam Reddish

Grade: B

Reasoning: Simons is already an excellent scorer and underrated playmaker. Like Lillard, Simons is also having the best season of his career. He’s averaging 21 points and 4 assists on 45/38/89 shooting splits.

Sharpe is one of the most athletic guards in the entire league and a 36 percent 3-point shooter.

The knock on the Blazers’ shooting guard position and the reason this grade isn’t higher is the fit next to Dame. There are overlapping skillsets and defensive issues between Lillard and Simons, similar to when it was a Lillard and CJ McCollum backcourt.

Positional fit aside, Simons and Sharpe are only 23 and 19 years old, respectively; they are the cornerstone pieces for the Blazers organization to build on in the future. This grade should only continue to improve the more time they have to unlock their potential.