Blazers news: Billups settles on starting 5 to open season against Clippers

The Portland Trail Blazers huddle before the exhibition game against the New Zealand Breakers at Moda Center. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
The Portland Trail Blazers huddle before the exhibition game against the New Zealand Breakers at Moda Center. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

It was an offseason off tremendous upheaval for the Portland Trail Blazers. The organization traded its most beloved, and perhaps best, player after more than two months of drama and speculation. Then one of the key pieces of that trade was flipped only days later as the roster makeover continued.

That offseason officially comes to an end tonight with a game against the LA Clippers.

It’s time to hand the keys over to Scoot Henderson. It’s time for Anfernee Simons to come out of the shadows and prove he’s an all-star caliber player. It’s time for the new guys – Deandre Ayton, Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon, Toumani Camara – to perhaps carve out their own spots in Blazers history.

It’s time for the re-signees, Jerami Grant and Matisse Thybulle, to have another pair of career years.

It’s finally time for the 2023-24 regular season, and head coach Chauncey Billups has chosen his starting five for opening night.

Who will start for the Portland Trail Blazers against the LA Clippers?

Billups said, per Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report, that he’s “pretty set” on the following group taking the floor to begin opening night in LA:

Point guard: Scoot Henderson

Shooting guard: Anfernee Simons

Small forward: Matisse Thybulle

Power forward: Jerami Grant

Center: Deandre Ayton

What will the Blazers rotation look like against the Clippers?

Brogdon will be a major part of this team as long as he’s in Portland. This season will be second-year guard Shaedon Sharpe’s first crack at getting real, crunch-time NBA minutes. Billups has already said Williams will be a significant piece, as a backup to Ayton or in two-center lineups.

Camara proved during the preseason that he’s NBA-ready, despite being an apparent toss-away in the Lillard trade. Jabari Walker could earn minutes as a backup power forward, and Billups experimented with him as a small-ball center during the preseason. Simons will get his chance to slide over to point guard and run the show at times.

The Blazers’ starting five is set for game one of Portland’s post-Lillard era, but the exact rotation still has to be tinkered with, and it’s all likely to fluctuate throughout the season.

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But it’s time for meaningful Portland Trail Blazers basketball again. A new era of Portland Trail Blazers basketball. This one counts. Blazers Clippers. Let’s go.

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