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 /
4 of 4
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers – Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /

Where does Watford fit with the Trail Blazers?

With the Blazers still stuck between rebuilding and reloading, it’s hard to project exactly what the team will need. What isn’t hard to tell, however, is that Portland is going to go through substantial changes in the next few seasons to accommodate whichever plan they commit to.

That makes it hard to totally project where Watford will fit in with the team. On one hand, he’s not better than Grant and doesn’t offer the wing skills the team needs next to him to make its scheme work.

That leaves a bench role at best for him.

On the other hand, there aren’t many players outside of Shaedon Sharpe and Skylar Mays who’ve made as strong of an impression as Watford has at the end of the season. For long stretches, Watford looked like he had physically arrived and was ready to play longer stretches for the team – a major step forward from last year.

In that sense, it’s easy to see the Blazers retaining him throughout the duration of his contract. He doesn’t cost them much, gives them a player that knows their system well, and still has upside. All of those will be useful, whether the team contends or looks to rebuild.

Next. Comparing Shaedon Sharpe’s rookie season to 2022s other top 10 picks. dark

Look a little closer, however, and there’s a convincing case for Watford to be the first power forward off of the bench for the team. He provides a notable variant to Grant, has a great nose for scoring, and still has room to grow without the same sorts of rookie mistakes.

Watford has taken the important step forward that past Blazers haven’t: shedding the “project” label and becoming a full rotation player.