Ranking the Portland Trail Blazers' 3 most glaring needs this summer

The Trail Blazers finished the season with the worst record in the Western Conference. This offseason, they will need to address various roster weaknesses.
Apr 5, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson
Apr 5, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The Portland Trail Blazers finished the season with a 21-61 record, the worst in the Western Conference, and tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the third-worst record in the association. After a disappointing season, it's apparent that General Manager Joe Cronin has multiple roster construction holes to fill. 

The good news for the Blazers front office and fans is that there's no pressure to fix these glaring needs anytime soon. It would be wiser to avoid rushing into a win-now mode to try and compete for a spot in the play-in tournament.

Instead, they should build a roster with pieces that complement each other organically through the draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder are the obvious example of flawlessly executing this strategy. They were patient in their rebuilding process and targeted players who improved their team chemistry and played their respective roles exceptionally well.

3. Positional size

The Blazers' lack of positional size has been a weakness dating back to the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum era, and they have yet to do much to address it since. Their promising young guards, Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson, are 6-foot-3. Meanwhile, their other rising star, Shaedon Sharpe, is better suited to play shooting guard at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, rather than the small forward position he plays at times. 

The NBA has embraced this new era of positionless basketball. However, the three players with arguably the highest upside on the Blazers' roster are undersized if they all play together. As the Blazers look towards the future, head coach Chauncey Billups' best lineup may be playing only two of Henderson, Simons, and Sharpe at a time. 

Regardless, Portland must continue finding more positional size to improve their defense. The Blazers finished last season with the eighth-worst defensive rating in the league, at 116.6, surrendering an average of 115.4 points per game to opponents.

Given the current state of the Western Conference, addressing the need for positional size should be a main priority for the Blazers. Superstar players such as Luka Doncic are constantly hunting for mismatches, seemingly now more than ever, trying to get the optimal switch in a pick-and-roll to take advantage in an isolation situation. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a prime example of a team that has gone on a playoff run and has excellent length at every position, contributing to their league-leading defensive rating of 108.4. Timberwolves General Manager Tim Connelly did a superb job constructing the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets' roster, then went to Minnesota to build an exceptionally well-equipped roster to counter the Nuggets' strengths.

The Blazers can increase their odds of eventually having playoff success in the loaded Western Conference by emulating a similar formula.