Trail Blazers: Starting lineup after Damian Lillard trade
Portland moved one starter and added two players who haven’t come off the bench for hundreds of games. How do they fit into the youth movement?
Point Guard: Scoot Henderson
It’s not a lock that Scoot Henderson will start if Jrue Holiday is on the roster in a month when the season begins, but top-3 picks tend to find their way to the starting lineup, especially if they are as polished as Henderson.
Shooting Guard: Shaedon Sharpe
The No. 7 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft has done nothing but show flashes of immense potential, and the expectation is that once he forced his way into the starting lineup down the stretch for Portland last season, he was never going to relinquish the spot.
Small Forward: Jrue Holiday
This is the big question mark for the Portland Trail Blazers: who will start at the 3? One option is to start Anfernee Simons at shooting guard and slide the 6-foot-5 inch Sharpe over to the 3, but he isn’t built out enough to do anything but wave to opposing small forwards as they go by.
Holiday is a veteran who deserves to start, and his defensive ability on the wing should place him there. Matisse Thybulle is a strong candidate to start as well given his defensive ability,
Power Forward: Jerami Grant
The Trail Blazers will trade Jrue Holiday, probably before the season begins. They will almost certainly trade Jerami Grant by the time the trade deadline rolls around, as the highly-paid veteran forward is much more valuable to a contender than to the retooling Trail Blazers.
Center: Deandre Ayton
The Trail Blazers finally have their center after taking part in trade rumors for nearly every other pivot in the league. Jusuf Nurkic is replaced by Ayton, who is a physical marvel and has a high floor on both offense and defense. Will he take a step forward to become excellent on either end? That remains to be seen.