The Portland Trail Blazers are still fighting for their playoff lives.
Portland have struggled to establish any sort of momentum whatsoever as they stand at 15-21 and ninth in the Western Conference ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Heat.
Carmelo Anthony has provided some offensive firepower since joining the team back in November, but the Trail Blazers have a hard time coming by stops on the defensive end, and they lack defensive playmaking on the perimeter while also having a shortage of interior scoring.
Here are three needs the Portland Trail Blazers must address via trade prior to the February deadline.
Inside scoring threat
There is no real sense of timing when it comes to the eventual returns of Jusuf Nurkic or Zach Collins.
With that in mind, the Trail Blazers need a legitimate scoring presence inside. Portland ranks 25th in two-point shooting percentage, largely because they do not have any post threats or anyone that can gobble up offensive rebounds–outside of Hassan Whiteside–for easy baskets.
This is especially concerning since the Trail Blazers seem to rely on the mid-range game. Anthony’s entire game is based on mid-range scoring, and C.J. McCollum is another guy who prides himself on his ability to create space for jumpers and floaters.
Well, would the Trail Blazers still consider trading for Kevin Love? What about Andre Drummond? Love might be the better fit because he can also spread the floor for McCollum and Damian Lillard, but Drummond also eats on the offensive glass.
Maybe Tristan Thompson would even have some upside, if the Trail Blazers strike out on Love.
The Trail Blazers have the rim protection they need with Whiteside locking own the paint, but Lillard and McCollum aren’t the best defenders on the wing.
Portland could use a long and lanky defender with good reach who can get into the passing lanes or defend multiple positions. Naturally, someone like Andre Iguodala would be a perfect fit for this role, though he seems more naturally inclined to end up with one of the Los Angeles-based teams.
The same can be said for Darren Collison (if he comes out of retirement), who would also fill the need for…
Backup point guard
The Trail Blazers do not want to run Lillard into the ground. He is one of the best point guards in the league, but he is also averaging an unsustainable 36.7 minutes per night in an era where resting stars is at a premium.
Collison would provide toughness and playmaking in the pick-and-roll, but he will probably sign with a more reputable contender. What about Magic point guard D.J. Augustin?
Augustin has been coming off the bench for the Magic, though he is still getting plenty of minutes as Orlando grooms Markelle Fultz. He has not been the most efficient scorer this season, but he can make plays for his teammates and is very capable of being a proficient perimeter shooter.
The Trail Blazers rank 30th in assists. They need a dependable guard who can shoot and distribute the basketball. Augustin could fill those voids.