3. Young Size
Portland’s young core is small.
Scoot, Simons and Sharpe are all guards whose size will limit their impact defensively. Toumani Camara’s emergence as a rotation-caliber forward helps, but Portland’s future depends on Cronin’s ability to surround his trio of young guards with size.
At 25 years old, Ayton offered the promise of a long-term starting center, but his underwhelming season means that Portland should be open to other directions with its frontcourt. Williams' injury history augments the need for the Blazers to consider alternative options at the center position.
Most of Portland’s forward and center needs will be addressed through the draft, but Cronin should be opportunistic in trades involving the Blazers’ veterans this deadline.
The Pacers, a team that established itself as a buyer by trading for Siakam, could benefit from a defensive-minded wing like Thybulle or a steady guard like Brogdon. Perhaps Obi Toppin, a player Indiana may be more willing to move after acquiring Siakam, could be made available to the Blazers.
Could the Houston Rockets, another team that’s switched gears into win-now mode, make Cam Whitmore available in a trade for more veteran help? Is there a way for Portland to convert one of its veterans into Chris Boucher, a stretch big who reportedly is a likely trade candidate?
Young forwards with size are valuable, so there’s no guarantee that trades available to Cronin will enable him to supplement his young core with size, but he should jump at the chance if a big wing or young center enters the trade market.