How the Trail Blazers can emulate the Warriors’ championship formula

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports) /

Kevon Looney was arguably the most underrated player during the Warriors’ playoff run last season. In the finals, Looney averaged 5 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. The Blazers are missing a big man that can contribute to the game outside of scoring, as Looney did in the playoffs.

With Lillard, Simons, Grant, and the progression of Sharpe, they already have enough offensive firepower. They need someone who will do all the little things, whether it’s setting screens, boxing out, or contesting shots.

Possibilities to emulate Kevon Looney, The Forgotten Piece:

  • Naz Reid (free agency)
  • Brook Lopez (free agency)
  • Noah Clowney (draft)
  • James Nnaji (draft)

Reid and Lopez would be great options, depending on their free agency asking prices. Reid recently broke his wrist and is out for a significant amount of time. But, he had the best season of his career before the injury, averaging 11.5 points and 5 rebounds.

He has yet to reach his NBA peak and could improve his game with the right opportunity.

Lopez, much like Looney, is an underrated reason the Bucks went on to win the 2021 NBA Finals. He can space the floor on offense and is an elite rim protector.

In fact, Lopez is currently top-three in the Defensive Player of the Year race. He doesn’t demand the ball and would complement the offensive-minded Blazers guards exceptionally well.

Clowney is a 6-10 forward from Alabama. He averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds in his freshman season.

Clowney has the athletic ability to be versatile defensively and, like Looney, does a great job of rebounding. He would also find ways to contribute immediately outside of scoring.

Nnaji is more of a raw prospect that will take some time to develop but could be worth the flier with the Knicks’ late first-round pick. Out of Barcelona, he is an athletic 6-10 big. He would instantly provide rim running on offense and rim protection on defense.

In addition, his athletic build suggests that he has an insanely high potential to be a defensive anchor.