It's been a big few days for the Portland Trail Blazers. After they at long last secured a trade for one of the greatest players to ever don their jersey in Damian Lillard, they moved on Jrue Holiday – who they secured in the Lillard trade – and acquired Malcolm Brogdon in the process. They've also lost Jusuf Nurkic, gained Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams, while a few other bits and pieces have also been wheeled and dealed.
The result is a roster which will in 2023-24 be vastly different to what it was last season, but they're not done just yet. Brogdon won't likely remain a Blazer for too long – at 30, he doesn't really fit into their youth profile and with Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe all set to share back court minutes, he is clearly surplus to requirements.
Trading Jrue Holiday and bolstering wing depth
Moving him on is the obvious next move for the Blazers – the question is what kind of player they should be searching to bring in in his place. In losing Lillard and Nurkic, they've lost plenty of experience and a whole lot of talent, but the players they've brought in have developed a young nucleus with which the scope to develop into a playoff contender in the coming years is clear. But they need to be wary of their own history.
For years, the Blazers tried to contend with an excellent back court – at least offensively – of Lillard and CJ McCollum, with Nurkic at center their clear third best player. After those three, there wasn't much else, and their lack of potency on the wings was a clear deficiency as they continually fell short of contention. A similar theme has emerged from their latest moves.
With the aforementioned young trio of guards, there's plenty of potential for another great back court to develop. And with Ayton and Williams, they've got plenty of talent at the five too. Their wings, however, are once again severely lacking. Jerami Grant will return this season, but while he's a handy piece, he's no superstar, and behind him there's not much else. The Blazers could try playing Ayton and Williams together but that will have a significant impact on spacing, and clearly neither of them are traditional wings. They'll be hoping Kris Murray – Keegan's brother and this year's number 23 in the NBA draft – helps fill the void, but he's never stepped on an NBA floor. After that, they have Kevin Knox, Toumani Camara and Jabari Walker.
Few teams at the top end of the NBA in recent years have been there on the back purely of a strong back court or dominant bigs. Great forwards are almost part and parcel of every quality team – just looking at the past three years, the NBA champions have had Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James in there. That doesn't mean a team can't be competitive without a player of that caliber in the three or four position, but the Blazers have a dearth of talent there, and that could be a problem.
Fortunately for them, in Malcolm Brogdon they still have a relatively valuable player who they don't want to keep. They will almost certainly move him on, but where he goes and what they get in return remains to be seen. It should be an absolute priority for the Blazers to ensure that, in trading him, they bolster the part of their roster which clearly requires the most attention.