The perfect complementary piece to the Blazers' young guards

Duop Reath's floor spacing makes him a valuable piece alongside the Blazers' young guards.
Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages

Portland Trail Blazers center Duop Reath had an excellent rookie season, establishing himself as one of the most effective stretch-fives in the entire league. Reath tied for fifth among centers in three-point percentage and was one of only seven centers to shoot above 35 percent; this is extremely promising when considered in conjunction with the Trail Blazers' young athletic guards who are looking to attack the paint.

The importance of a reliable backup center

Despite Reath's impressive shooting, his role is likely limited to being a backup big man with the Blazers. It's worth noting that while he's a rookie, Reath is 27 years old, which could hinder his appeal as a long-term part of Portland's rebuilding core. The Blazers already have a crowded center position, with Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III in the mix.

However, this year's playoffs demonstrated that having a consistent backup center is crucial. Consider the Knicks, Timberwolves, and Celtics—Isaiah Hartenstein's stellar play ultimately earned him a starting role for New York. In Minnesota, Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid played a pivotal role in the Timberwolves' deep playoff run. Lastly, the Celtics comfortably rely on the shooting and veteran experience of Al Horford, especially when Kristaps Porzingis is unavailable.

Duop Reath enhances the Blazers' young core

While Reath may not be a starter, his unique skill set brings significant benefits. His shooting provides the Blazers with versatility, enabling them to switch between a more traditional lineup with Ayton in the paint or a five-out strategy with Reath on the perimeter, depending on the matchup.

The NBA now has multiple superstars at the center position, including Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and the emerging Victor Wembanyama. Defensively, it's crucial to give these players various looks to contain them, and Reath is another big man who can also help the Blazers in that sense. The lineup flexibility Reath provides head coach Chauncey Billups with his size and shooting could potentially elevate him to one of the league's most valuable backup centers.

The future of this young team is uncertain. But it's nice to have one of the most effective stretch fives who pairs well with Portland's drive-heavy backcourt as a building block.