Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook
Portland Trail Blazers 2017 Preview
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The Portland Trail Blazers have made the playoffs four straight seasons under coach Terry Stotts and remain that team in the West that feels like its on the cusp of taking that next step if they can add one more piece. The problem is the Trail Blazers salary cap issues don’t allow much wiggle room, so they pretty much are what they are right now and will continue to lean on their star backcourt to do all of the heavy lifting.
Here is your Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA preview.
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Key Player Losses: Allen Crabbe leaves for the Brooklyn Nets after four seasons in Portland in which he shot 41.2 percent from three, averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Crabbe was one of Portland’s better bench players, but with his questionable defense and limited upside at 25 years old, it’s understandable why the Trail Blazers weren’t afraid to let him walk.
Key Player Additions: None.
Draft: Zach Collins is a 6’11” center with a high IQ, runs the floor well and was one of the more effective scoring big men at the college level. Collins could still improve his decision making and can do a better job of defending without fouling, but he’s an effective low-post scorer who can spot Jusuf Nurkic minutes when needed. Caleb Swanigan brings a ton of energy to the court, rebounds at an elite level and did shoot 37.6 percent from three in two years at Purdue. Swanigan isn’t a great athlete and probably is what he is at this point, but his passion and ability to score and rebound can’t go unnoticed.
Outlook: The Portland Trail Blazers were a different team in the 20 games Nurkic played, so having him for a whole year healthy will be a major plus. The problem is Portland has very limited depth or talent around Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, forcing that 1-2 punch to do nearly everything on a nightly basis. Evan Turner is stealing money, while guys such as Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and are extremely inconsistent. The Trail Blazers are an exciting team that will once again sniff around 45 victories, but they’re not a contender until they can add another star around their star backcourt.