Has Trendon Watford done enough to start for the Trail Blazers next year?

Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the Portland Trail Blazers watch the postseason from the outside for another year, it’s time to start considering major changes to the roster. The current core hasn’t gotten the job done and as general manager Joe Cronin and head coach Chauncey Billups assess which players should stay or go, they’ll inevitably come to Trendon Watford and his future.

During Damian Lillard’s tenure with the Blazers, the team has had a weakness at the forward spot since Lamarcus Aldridge left for San Antonio. They’ve cycled through Al-Farouq Aminu, Evan Turner, Jerami Grant, and many others, with none sticking next to Lillard’s great creation and shooting.

While Grant has done well on the wing and looks likely to re-sign, that still leaves both another starting forward spot and some important bench roles to fill. Cam Reddish and Matisse Thybulle will likely compete for the small forward spot, but the bench for Portland is certainly in flux and could use some talent and stability.

Enter Trendon Watford.

What’s the scoop on Trendon Watford?

Watford was a highly recruited player out of Birmingham, Alabama, before he settled on going to Baton Rouge to play for Will Wade and LSU. He spent two seasons as a starter for the Tigers, putting up solid scoring numbers and flashing his all-around potential as an NBA forward.

Watford went undrafted due to not having any standout NBA skills, but he signed a two-way contract with the Blazers in 2021. After making a minimal impact his first year with the team, Watford surprisingly signed a four-year, team-friendly contract that gave him stability and the Blazers a potential discount if he improved.

Although Watford’s stats this year looks much like they did last year, they don’t tell the whole story. For one, he actually got to start and play extended minutes due to Portland’s ineptitude toward the end of the season.

During that time, Watford expanded his skills and showed more potential than he’d displayed his entire rookie year.