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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Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors
Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Ironically, the Blazers traded Gary Payton II back to the Warriors this past trade deadline. The Blazers need a defensive-minded guard to pressure the opposing team’s best guard and take some of the load off Lillard.

Possibilities to emulate Gary Payton II, The Lockdown Defender:

  • Cason Wallace (draft)
  • Kobe Bufkin (draft)
  • Colby Jones (draft)
  • Donte DiVincenzo (player option)
  • Jevon Carter (player option)
  • Patrick Beverley (free agency)

Wallace could be an excellent pick for the Blazers. A 6-4 combo guard from the University of Kentucky, Wallace is one of the best defenders in the draft class. He averaged 2 steals per game during his freshman season.

Someone with Wallace’s skill set is precisely what this Blazers backcourt is currently missing.

He was previously mentioned as a possible selection for the Blazers in Kevin O’Conner’s mock draft on The Ringer. However, that was before the Blazers went into full tank mode. So we’ll see if Wallace is still a realistic pick for their spot.

If not, they still have plenty of flexibility with their draft assets to trade into a higher-valued spot to get him.

Final thoughts on the Blazers roster and how they can emulate Golden State

With two first-round picks, the Blazers will address their roster holes primarily through the draft.

For example, they could pick Walker (a Green archetype) and Wallace (a Payton archetype). That would leave the Thompson- and Looney-types as the missing pieces, which they could fill through free agency or trade.

Portland a long way to go to match the Warriors’ championship pedigree and sustained excellence. While these player comparisons aren’t perfect matches, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

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Selecting two defensive-minded players in the draft would help address many flaws in the Blazers’ current roster.