Trail Blazers ROSTER
41-30 • 5th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
|G||21||N/A||6' 3"||181 lbs||N/A|
|F-G||20||N/A||6' 6"||200 lbs||WASHINGTON STATE|
|G||29||N/A||6' 3"||190 lbs||LEHIGH|
|F||36||N/A||6' 7"||238 lbs||SYRACUSE|
|G||30||N/A||6' 2"||195 lbs||WEBER STATE|
|F||24||N/A||6' 5"||210 lbs||UNLV|
|C||28||N/A||6' 10"||250 lbs||KENTUCKY|
|F-C||23||N/A||6' 11"||240 lbs||DUKE|
|C||26||N/A||6' 11"||290 lbs||N/A|
|G||25||N/A||6' 4"||200 lbs||MONTANA STATE|
|F-G||21||N/A||6' 5"||220 lbs||NORTH CAROLINA|
|G||27||N/A||6' 3"||215 lbs||UCLA|
|F||30||N/A||6' 7"||209 lbs||TENNESSEE STATE|
|F||26||N/A||6' 6"||217 lbs||ARIZONA|
|F||24||N/A||6' 10"||222 lbs||UCLA|
|F-C||23||N/A||6' 11"||250 lbs||GONZAGA|
After a furious run in the bubble led by seeding games MVP Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers were able to prove to the rest of the NBA that they are indeed one of the top teams in the league. The Blazers come into the 2020-21 season with high hopes, as they look to make another extended run in the playoffs.
Portland had a clear strategy coming into the offseason and they did not waste any time executing it. They brought on Robert Covington from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Isaiah Stewart, and a first-round draft pick. That was quite a price to pay for the Blazers, but Covington's all-around game could prove to be a key addition for the squad this season.
Along with Covington, Portland also added veteran big man Enes Kanter in a three-team trade involving the Boston Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies, with the Blazers sending Mario Hezonja to Memphis.
The Blazers also brought in a couple of free agents in the offseason. Derrick Jones Jr., one of the most sought after names in free agency, opted to sign with the Blazers on a two-year deal worth $19.0 million. Portland also signed third-year big man Harry Giles from the Sacramento Kings.
Portland had to decide on a number of internal free agents as well. They brought back 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony for 2020-21. The tested veteran had an outstanding bounce-back campaign with the Blazers last season and he was rewarded with a one-year extension for $2.6 million.
The Blazers splashed the cash on Rodney Hood, with the 28-year-old guard/forward penning a lucrative $20.9 million extension for the next two years.
On the other hand, the Blazers also lost some guys, with Hassan Whiteside, Jaylen Adams, and Wenyen Gabriel, all departing Portland via free agency.
The Blazers starting five consists of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic. Key players coming off the bench include Carmelo Anthony, Gary Trent Jr., Enes Kanter, and Rodney Hood.
The Blazers were an excellent offensive team in 2019-20, ranking third in the entire league in overall offensive rating (113.2). Below we break down how Portland was able to rank so highly on the offensive end.
For starters, the Blazers scored an average of 115.0 points per game, which was sixth in the NBA. For a bit of context, it was the Houston Rockets that scored the most points per game with 118.7.
Portland attempted a total of 91.2 field goals per contest (third). However, they made just 46.3 percent of their attempts, which was just 14th in the league. However, the Blazers were a very efficient team from distance, making 37.7 percent of their attempts from three-point territory (third) on 34.1 heaves from deep per game (15th). Their two-point field goal attempts ranked seventh in the league at 57.1, but their conversion rate of 51.4 ranked a lowly 24th.
Another aspect the Blazers can improve on next season is their free-throw attempts. In 2019-20, they averaged just 22.1 free-throws per contest (23rd). The fact that their efficiency from the line (80.4) percent ranks so highly in the NBA (third) further proves that they should try to get to the line more often. As a side note, team superstar Damian Lillard takes 7.8 free-throws per game, with a 88.8-percent conversion rate. Needless to say, Lillard's aggressiveness and efficiency from the stripe has a significant impact on his team's success from the line overall.
Speaking of Lillard, he's the type of player who likes to have the ball in his hands. The same can be said for CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony. As a result, the Blazers averaged just 20.6 assists per contest, ranking dead last in the NBA in 2019-20.
Finally, the Blazers did a commendable job of taking care of the rock all season long, as they average just 12.8 turnovers per game (third) last year.
While the Blazers were an exceptional offensive side last season (they ranked third in the league in overall offensive rating), their defense left a lot to be desired. All in all, Portland logged a 114.3 defensive rating in 2019-20, which was a lowly 27th in the league. Only the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, and Cleveland Cavaliers ranked lower than the Blazers in terms of defensive rating.
Portland allowed their opponents to score an average of 116.1 points (26th) on 91.6 attempts per game (also 26th). The Blazers were able to force a 45.6-percent shooting clip, though, which was 11th in the NBA.
Portland could see some improvements in opponent three-point attempts, given how they allowed opposing teams 35.4 heaves from deep per contest (26th). To make matters worse, their opponents were able to make 38.3 percent of their long-distance attempts per game, which was all the way at 29th in the league.
On the contrary, the Blazers were a relatively impressive defensive team inside. They allowed opponents 56.2 two-point attempts per game (12th), while holding them down to just a 50.1 shooting percentage (fourth). The fact that they had shot-blocking specialist Hassan Whiteside manning the paint for the majority of the season certainly had a lot to do with this. Whiteside is now a member of the Sacramento Kings, but Portland did bring back Enes Kanter.
The Blazers committed 21.7 fouls per game (21st), resulting in 24.7 free-throw attempts for their opponents (24th).
Portland averaged just 6.3 steals per game, which was 28th in the NBA. On the other hand, they swatted 6.1 attempts per game (second), and Whiteside's league-leading 2.9 blocks accounted for nearly half of that.
Terry Stotts is Portland's current head coach. He's been with the team since 2012, and in eight seasons through 2019-20, he held a record of 360 wins against 288 losses (.556 winning percentage).
The Blazers have made it to the playoffs in seven out of Stotts' eight seasons at the helm. The only time they missed the postseason was during Stotts debut campaign (2012-13). Their most memorable run under Stotts came in 2019, when the Blazers went all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Prior to joining Portland, Stotts also had head coaching stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. He also served as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Hawks, and Bucks. The 62-year-old has been in the NBA since 1994.
Nate Tibbetts is listed as the team's associated head coach, while Stotts' assistant coaches are John McCullough, Jim Moran, Dale Osbourne, and Jannero Pargo.
The Blazers brought on several new players into the fold during the offseason, as they look to mount a more formidable challenge in the West.
Portland signed a couple of free agents on the same day (Nov. 22), coming in the form of Harry Giles and Derrick Jones Jr.
With the Miami Heat unable to retain the services of Jones, the highly-coveted free agent picked the Blazers as his new team. The 23-year-old signed a lucrative deal with Portland, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal worth $20.9 million. Last season with the Heat, Jones averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.0 steals in 23.3 minutes per contest.
Giles, who spent the first two seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings, signed with the Blazers on a one-year deal worth $1.7 million. With Hassan Whiteside opting to sign with the Kings, Giles should provide some much-needed support for Portland's frontcourt.
Portland's most significant free agent acquisition this offseason came in the form of former Miami Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. The high-flying 23-year-old was one of the most coveted names on the market, and credit needs to be given to the Blazers for winning the sweepstakes. It will cost them $19.0 million over the next two seasons.
The Blazers also brought in 22-year-old big man Harry Giles, who spent the first two seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings, on a one-year, $1.7 million deal.
Other names that were linked to the Blazers during the offseason included Jae Crowder, Paul Millsap, Markieff Morris, and Robin Lopez.
The Blazers weren't involved in a Russell Westbrook-John Wall caliber trade, but their most recent acquisition might just be what Portland needs to take them to the next level.
On Nov. 22, the Blazers sent Trevor Ariza, Isaiah Stewart, and a 2021 first-round pick to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Robert Covington. The Rockets had a bit of a fire sale in the offseason, and Covington was one of the first to go.
The 6-foot-7 wingman joined the Rockets in the middle of last season, and his impact was immediate and significant. He proved to be a key piece in Houston's micro-ball lineup, serving as an undersized big for coach Mike D'Antoni. In 22 games played for Hosuton, Covington averaged 11.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals, and a career-best 2.2 blocks, while also connecting on 2.4 triples per game.
Covington is one of the best 3-and-D players in the league today, and on paper at least, he's a tremendous addition for the Blazers.
By default, the Blazers' lineup from the 1976-77 season takes the cake for Portland's greatest roster of all time. This franchise has only won the title once throughout its history, and it came during that memorable season.
The great Bill Walton led the squad to the championship, getting a lot of help from fellow all-time greats in Maurice Lucas and Lionel Hollins. Bob Gross, Dave Twardzik, Herm Gilliam, Larry Steele, Johnny Davis, Robin Jones, and Lloyd Neal were also members of Portland’s historic 1976-77 roster.
With $93 million in guaranteed salaries for the upcoming season, the Blazers already had minimal cap maneuverability to begin with.
They signed Rodney Hood to a new two-year deal worth around $10.4 million per season, while also re-signing Carmelo Anthony to a one-year deal worth $2.6 million. Mario Hezonja also opted into his $2.0 million deal for next term.
The Blazers also brought on a couple of free agents in Derrick Jones Jr. (two years, $20.9 million) and Harry Giles (one year, $1.7 million).
Portland also opted to let Hassan Whiteside walk away, and they traded away Trevor Ariza and his $11 million salary next term.
All-in-all, the Blazers have total salary cap allocations of $130,749,148, which is over the NBA’s salary cap but just below the luxury tax threshold.
Second-year swingman Gary Trent Jr. had a breakout campaign during the 2019-20 season, and he emerged as a tremendous option for the Blazers off the bench. At one point in the season, there were even some whispers that the 21-year-old could be in the running for the league's Sixth Man of the Year award.
In 61 games for the Blazers, Trent averaged 8.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 21.8 minutes off the bench. The former Duke standout also knocked down 1.8 triples per game on a highly-efficient 41.8-percent clip.
Blazers cornerstone superstar Damian Lillard serves as the team's starting point guard, playing alongside the sharp-shooting CJ McCollum to form the Portland backcourt. The rest of Portland’s starting five heading into the 2020-21 season will consist of Derrick Jones, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic. Gary Trent Jr. and Carmelo Anthony figure to play prominent minutes off the bench.