3 Things to watch for in the Portland Trail Blazers preseason opener

Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Anfernee Simons remains a Blazers after the Damian Lillard trade, but who will join him in a backcourt?
Anfernee Simons (left), Damian Lillard; Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

3. With Lillard gone and options available, where do the Blazers turn at guard?

Billups has more to work with this year guard-wise than he did last season. Dame was a lock to start every night that he was healthy, as was Simons. This year brings more options, but more questions marks, too.

Simons will start on opening night, barring injury. It seems like Scoot is a lock to start next to him, but there are other guards who can stake a claim to a starting spot – especially for a preseason opener.

Sharpe said he’s comfortable starting or coming off the bench and playing at guard or small forward. Brogdon is in Portland to stay, at least to start the season, and he’s a former Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year with a haul of playoff experience who can have a calming effect on three young, budding stars.

All four will play a role this season, but how much of a role and in what combinations is up in the air. Brogdon and Simons are combo guards who can play on or off the ball, which means they can play with either, or perhaps sometimes both, of Scoot and Sharpe. But that duo is the exciting, explosive, athletic backcourt that needs to grow together.

So which pair starts, or more importantly, which pairs share the floor together? The way Billups staggers his guards could provide some insight into how things shake out during the regular season.

dark. Next. Blazers possible starting 5, rotation after Lillard, Holiday trades

It’s finally time for a competitive Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball game. Let the new era begin.