After another disappointing playoff outing, it’s clear that something needs to change for the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard is more than capable of being the best player on a championship team. His accompanying roster, however, is not suited for that journey. Two overtimes in Game Five versus the Denver Nuggets show this. In those overtimes, Lillard shot 6-8 and scored 17 points. His teammates (yes, all of them) shot 1-19 and scored two points. Perhaps a complete roster overhaul is not necessary, but something must be done.
McCollum is one of the top players in league history to never make an All-Star game. With that being said, the fiery scorer simply isn’t an ideal fit alongside Lillard. In Atlanta, he can potentially create one of the league’s most exciting backcourts, while also helping overshadow Trae Young‘s defensive deficiencies. This move depends on Collins, an impending free agent, not returning to the Hawks.
Collins will give Lillard an All-Star-level big man. He’s a strong two-way player, and can easily stretch the floor. Pick-and-rolls with Lillard will be dangerous, and Collins will be slamming in alley-oops right and left. This fit looks great on paper.
Huerter is also a terrific NBA player. He fits his role perfectly and can emerge as a true three-point sniper with the open looks he’ll have in the Trail Blazers offense.
Boston desperately needs center help. Nurkic, although sometimes plagued by injuries, is a great solution. Bringing back a healthy Jaylen Brown, with a legitimate star in Jayson Tatum, and the Celtics are scary again. Jones Jr brings on help to back up both Brown and Tatum.
Portland brings in Smart who will drastically help the team’s defense. Lillard, often exhausted doing nearly everything offensively in the playoffs, will be allowed some defensive rest with Smart around. He’s the perfect backup for both back-court positions. Thompson can help replace Nurkic, but not drastically. Portland will still have to make a move or two to bolster the frontcourt.
Miami is fresh off a horrible playoff outing after making the finals last season. They need scoring help, and McCollum brings this. This will be especially crucial if a shooter like Duncan Robinson decides to depart in free agency.
Oladipo can help replace McCollum, and although not as good, he’ll bring somewhat of a different dimension. Portland just needs to shake things up, and this may be a solution. Oladipo is coming off surgery, however, which will keep some teams wary. In addition, he barely suited up for the Heat after a midseason trade.
Achiuwa played very well in his rookie season and will allow Portland to move on from Enes Kanter. He still needs a couple of years of development, but Achiuwa can certainly become a starter down the road.
Like in all deals, an added first-round pick is always a nice sweetener.
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