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Portland Trail Blazers 2022-23 Season Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers have been, for the better part of the last decade, a consistent playoff team. Last season was a bridge year, as star Damian Lillard was injured and the team decided to freshen up the team (namely with the CJ McCollum trade). Now, however, with a redesigned roster, the Trail Blazers are hoping to find themselves back in the playoff conversation.

Portland Trail Blazers 2022-23 Season Preview

Roster Changes

The roster changes in Portland were plentiful.

Of course, McCollum is gone, but that occurred last season. A number of other contributors are gone as well, but not many played down the stretch last season as Portland was essentially tanking.

Two major acquisitions were Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II.

Grant averaged 19 points and four boards per game last season for the Detroit Pistons. The season prior, Grant averaged over 22 points per game. Since he left the Denver Nuggets, Grant has been a legitimate scoring threat. He may very well be the number two option on offense behind Lillard.

Payton II is a fantastic grab from the reigning champions Golden State Warriors. He’s a true defensive menace. Payton II causes turnovers for opposing players left and right and can lockdown whatever guard he gets thrown on. This will be a game-changer for Portland and allow Lillard and Anfernee Simons to cause more damage on offense.

Shaedon Sharpe was also brought in through the draft. Sharpe is a project, but one with extremely high potential. His usage this season will be interesting to watch.

Depth Questions

It’s assumed that the starting five for Portland will feature Lillard, Simons, Josh Hart, Grant, and Jusuf Nurkic. Offensively, that’s a talented group. If Lillard is back to his previous form, then Portland will be a fiery offensive team. Simons broke out down the stretch last season, and Hart also improved.

Payton II is the biggest name off the bench. He’ll play a major role, there’s no doubt about that.

Nassir Little has slight break-out potential this season. He averaged about 10 points and six boards per game last season. Little will be relied upon as a difference-maker off the bench, so he needs to flash for Portland to succeed.

Other options are Trendon WatfordDrew EubanksJustise WinslowKeon Johnson, and others. The group isn’t ideal, so Portland will definitely carry depth questions throughout the season.

Expectations for the Portland Trail Blazers 2022-23 Season

The Western Conference will be a gauntlet once again.

The Golden State Warriors are the reigning NBA champions. The Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers are healthy. Other teams like the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Memphis Grizzlies will be good once again. The Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans are improved. Then, of course, the Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James.

From the outside looking in, it looks as if the Trail Blazers will be contending for a play-in spot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however. Lillard is more than capable of taking over a game on his own, and the play-in is a recipe for that to happen.

Portland will be back in the playoff hunt, that’s for sure.


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