Portland Trail Blazers Offseason Moves 2019: Odds and Predictions

Trail Blazers 2018-2019 Performance

Season Record: 53-39, 3rd in the Western Conference

Head Coach: Terry Stotts

Most Frequent Starting Five (38 Games): (G) Damian Lillard – (G) CJ McCollum – (F) Maurice Harkless – (F) Al-Farouq Aminu – (C) Jusuf Nurkic

Trail Blazers 2018-2019 Top Performers

  • (G) Damian Lillard – 35.5 MPG | 25.8 PPG | 6.9 APG | .369 3P%
  • (G) CJ McCollum – 33.9 MPG | 21.0 PPG | 3.0 APG | .375 3P%
  • (C) Jusuf Nurkic – 27.4 MPG | 15.6 PPG | 10.4 RPG | .508 FG%

Trail Blazers 2018-2019 Major Transactions

4 February 2019 – Traded Wade Baldwin, Nik Stauskas, a 2021 2nd round draft pick and a 2023 2nd round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Rodney Hood.

7 February 2019 – Traded Caleb Swanigan to the Sacramento Kings for Skal Labissière.

13 February 2019 – Signed Enes Kanter to a contract for the rest of the season.

The Good

Dame Time

Damian Lillard has proved himself to be one of the NBA’s premier point guards. While guards like Russell Westbrook fill the stat sheet, Lillard continually leads his team to greater heights.

Lillard was named to the All-NBA Second Team, an All-Star, and awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2019. He may not have won the Championship, but he doesn’t seem far away.

Did you know he’s quite the rapper too?

The Bosnian Beast Shines

It was difficult for Nurkic to lose his role with the Nuggets to a rising Nikola Jokic. When he joined the Trail Blazers, it wasn’t an easy adjustment.

However, 2018 debuted a new Nurkic. Confident, aggressive, and newly adept from the mid-range, the Bosnian Beast grew into the third star that the Blazers were looking for.

The Bad

Always the Bridesmaid

The Trail Blazers have been on an upward path since they committed to Lillard as their star. They were fantastic during the regular season and looked impressive during the playoffs.

After a fantastic ending to their Conference Semi-Finals series with the Thunder, they were quickly swept by the Golden State Warriors.

Shock for Nurkic

We just spoke about Nurkic’s fantastic rise, so what could derail that ascent?

After suffering a gruesome leg injury in overtime against the Nets, all of Nurkic’s gains were halted. What he accomplished won’t be undone, but without him, the Blazer’s once again failed to make it over the hump.

On the positive side, Nurkic is recovering well and expects to be back better than ever. There is yet to be a timetable on his return.

The Surprises

Glue Players Shine

If players aren’t hitting threes or flying in for tremendous dunks, very little attention is paid to them. However, Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless proved there’s more to it than the box score.

Versatile defenders, capable finishers, and all-out hustle players, both were essential to the success of the Blazers during the 18-19 season.

Due to their cap situation, Harkless and Aminu find themselves out of Portland to begin the 2019-2020 season. Portland will sorely miss their contributions.

Portland Trail Blazers – 2019 NBA Draft Acquisitions

With a single pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Blazers had a lot of ways to go. They chose to shore up their wing position with the selection of forward Nassir Little.

Nassir Little – North Carolina – USA – Portland Trail Blazers, 1st Round (25th Pick, 25th Overall)

SeasonAgeCollegeGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1918UNC3618.29.84.60.7.478.269

Little will probably bring back memories for Trail Blazers fans, as he is quite reminiscent of Gerald Wallace. Little is a force on the defensive end, which will benefit them with the departure of Al-Farouq Aminu.

Little is still raw on the offensive end, but his athleticism will help garner him game time. He is not a strong shooter but will have plenty of time to work on that facet of his game.

Expectations

The Trail Blazers are more than set at the wing position, so Little will likely be relegated to garbage time for the Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers, disappointingly, do not have a G-League affiliate to call their own. Last season, the Blazers sent players down to the Texas Legends and the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.

Depending on how close the Blazers want to keep Little to home will determine where he finds playing time.

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Portland Trail Blazers – 2019 NBA Offseason Acquisitions

(C) Pau Gasol – 1 Year/$2.5 Million

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1938SAS-MIL3812.03.94.61.7.447.462

Going on 39 years old most will expect little from the older Gasol brother. However, Pau’s previous season was marred with injury, severely undercutting his production.

Despite his advanced age, Gasol has never averaged less than ten points per game in a season where he’s appeared in more than thirty matches. Bet on Gasol’s production being greater than expected.

(C) Hassan Whiteside – 4 Years/$98.4 Million

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBBLKFG%3P%
18-1929MIA7223.312.311.31.9.571.125

Whiteside is coming off of his least productive year since he returned to the NBA in 2014. As the year went on, he found himself outside of coach Erik Spoelstra’s plans.

Now partnered with offensively capable guards in Lillard and McCollum, Whiteside can go back to his role as a rim-runner and glass-crashing energy player.

(G-F) Kent Bazemore – 4 Years/$70 Million

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1929ATL6724.511.63.92.3.402.320

Bazemore looks for a fresh start with the Trail Blazers. A veteran wing player with a passable shooting stroke, Bazemore will bring value to the Blazers’ reserve unit.

(G-F) Mario Hezonja – 2 Years/$3.6 Million

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1923NYK5820.88.84.11.5.412.276

Mario Hezonja is coming off of a decent but underwhelming season with the New York Knicks. While many hoped he would break out, he struggled to find his rhythm.

Hezonja will need to improve his shooting from deep if he hopes to keep his value on the court. With less responsibility as an individual playmaker, Hezonja may be able to shine in a reduced role.

(F) Anthony Tolliver – 1 Year/$2.5 Million

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1931MIN6516.65.02.70.7.382.377

Anthony Tolliver brings a team one thing for certain, three-point shooting. A 37.6% career three-point shooter, Tolliver’s value will be based on his ability to convert on open shots efficiently.

(F) Jaylen Hoard – Two-Way Contract

SeasonAgeCollegeGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1919Wake Forest3130.213.17.61.5.458.226

Hoard is a fantastic two-way prospect for the Portland Trail Blazers. While he lacks an refined offensive skillset, his energy and athleticism are already at the NBA level. The Blazers hope to foster his development.

Training Camp Additions

(C) Moses Brown – Exhibit 10

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1919UCLA3223.49.78.30.3.607n/a

Brown needs to get stronger and find some explosiveness, but he has an intriguing body. Already massive by NBA standards, Brown needs to refine his game and body to make an impact. He already has the right attitude for battling in the paint.

(G) Troy Caupain – Exhibit 10

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1922LKL4933.716.45.95.0.480.388

Combo-guard Troy Caupain has a lot to showcase with his game. At 6’4 he has great size while being versatile on both ends of the court. Caupain’s ability to fill the stat sheet is more than welcome by the Blazers.

(G) London Perrantes – Exhibit 10

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1925Cholet Basket2233.612.72.36.3.389.366

London Perrantes certainly lives up to his nickname. “California Cool” is a heady playmaker, despite lacking key athletic abilities. He is a capable lead guard, who will have to prove valuable offensively.

(G-F) Keljin Blevins – Exhibit 10

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1922Montana State3128.411.85.91.6.429.284

Keljin Blevins from small Montana State, has found an opportunity with the Trail Blazers. Offensively raw but an athletic specimen, Blevins presents surprising potential for a four-year senior.

Expected Depth Chart

Point GuardShooting GuardSmall ForwardPower ForwardCenter
Damian LillardCJ McCollumRodney HoodZach CollinsHassan Whiteside
Anfernee SimonsKent BazemoreMario HezonjaAnthony TolliverPau Gasol
London PerrantesGary Trent Jr.Nassir LittleSkal LabissiereJusuf Nurkic (injured)
Troy CaupainKeljin BlevinsJaylen Hoard (Two-Way)Moses Brown

2019-2020 Season Expectations for the Trail Blazers

With a new extension in place, the Blazers are expecting Damian Lillard to make his case as an MVP-calibre player.

They seemed ready to take the jump into championship contention, but the Warriors took those aspirations from them in a late sweep.

While the Blazers are still contenders, they’ll need to make an unexpected jump in order to challenge the best of the West.

Regular Season Win Totals for the Portland Trail Blazers

SportsbookOver

47.5

Under

47.5

DraftKings-110-110

Coming off of a 53 win season, most future bets would bank on the Blazers meeting the same mark.

Unfortunately with the improvement at the top of the West, they’ve fallen well below last years total in expected wins. They open the season at an over/under of 47.5 wins.

Portland Trail Blazers Odds to Win the 2019-2020 Western Conference

SportsbookPortland Trail Blazers
DraftKings+2100

The Blazers have a lot to prove with their new and improved roster. While they’ve certainly grown stronger, their new pieces must acclimate quickly.

They’re unlikely to challenge for the top of the West, with the likes of the Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, and Warriors clearly their superior.

Portland Trail Blazers Odds to Win the 2019-2020 NBA Championship

SportsbookPortland Trail Blazers
DraftKings+3600

The Trail Blazers return as one of the Western Conferences top sides. With Damian Lillard signing a new contract, the odds of their championship success have certainly gone up.

The Blazers are currently on the outside looking in at the top ten championship-caliber teams according to the oddsmakers.

While injuries currently hurt their chances, look for some quick growth as the season wears on.

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