DRAFT TRADE: Blazers acquire No. 37 overall pick Gary Trent Jr. in trade with Sacramento Kings for two future second-round picks and financial considerations

Pre-Draft Analysis

Areas Of Strength
The Portland Trail Blazers have a backcourt that’s the envy of the NBA, at least from a scoring standpoint. It’s hard to get much better than All-NBA first teamer Damian Lillard and his running mate, CJ McCollum -- both of whom are still in their prime. Portland arguably could use backcourt help in terms of depth, but for now the Blazers are sitting pretty with Lillard and McCollum, who were both lottery picks developed in-house by Portland.

Needs Work
How much longer will the Blazers be a lopsided team -- heavy on guards, short on frontline production? Such is life in Portland since the Blazers watched All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge leave for San Antonio in 2015. The Blazers’ current crop of Meyers Leonard, Ed Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu have been marginal talents at best. This imbalance has prevented Portland from going very playoff-wise in the Lillard era. And now they face a tough decision on free-agent center Jusuf Nurkic, who briefly provided frontline hope. Portland will once again look at enhancing the front line – just like in 2017, when they drafted Zach Collins (who gradually improved as 2017-18 wore on).

Two Stats That Matter
10.5 percent
-- Only 10.5 percent of the Blazers' possessions, the lowest rate in the league, were in transition, according to Synergy tracking.

10.5 -- The Blazers allowed 10.5 more points per 100 possessions in getting swept in the first round (114.7) by the New Orleans Pelicans than they did in the regular season (104.2).

-- John Schuhmann

The Way To Go
The Blazers would be helped by a two-way player who can eventually guard the toughest guy on the other team. Be on the lookout for Jacob Evans, a small forward from Cincinnati who shoots well and doesn’t have great size (6-foot-5) at the position. A bigger option is 6-foot-9 Dzanan Musa from Bosnia. He is a big scorer but lacks experience and hasn’t played against NBA-level players. A concession would be Melvin Frazier of Tulane who offers a little of both.r

2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank) 
Offensive: 106.1 (16th)
Defensive: 104.2 (8th)

Under Contract
G: Damian Lillard
G: CJ McCollum
F/G: Evan Turner
F/C: Caleb Swanigan
F: Mo Harkless
F: Al-Farouq Aminu
C/F: Zach Collins
C: Meyers Leonard
C: Georgios Papagiannis

Free Agents
G: Wade Baldwin IV (unrestricted)
G: Shabazz Napier (restricted)
F/G: Pat Connaughton (restricted)
F/C: Ed Davis (unrestricted)
C: Jusuf Nukic (restricted)
G: CJ Wilcox (restricted)

Recent Draft History
2017: Justin Jackson (15), traded to Chicago; Harry Giles (20), traded to Sacramento; Caleb Swanigan (26).
2016: None
2015: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23), traded to Brooklyn
2014: None
2013: CJ McCollum (10), Jeff Withey (39), Grant Jerrett (40), traded to Oklahoma City; Marko Todorovic (40)
2012: Damian Lillard (6), Meyers Leonard (11), Will Barton (40), Tyshawn Taylor (41), traded to Brooklyn

-- Shaun Powell

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