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How Strong Is the Portland Trail Blazers Roster for the 2020-21 NBA Season?

| December 9, 2020 7:48 am PDT
Portland Trail Blazers Roster Analysis for 2020-21

The Portland Trail Blazers will be hoping to finally make the jump from consistent playoff participants to true title contenders in the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season. The big question is if they have the personnel to fight for the championship.

I share my thoughts on the topic in this Trail Blazers roster analysis that includes an overview of all players that are under contract, as well as the weak and strong sides of the organization on both defense and offense.

Let’s begin with the complete list of players before I move on to my analysis.

  • Damian Lillard
  • Anfernee Simons
  • C.J. McCollum
  • Gary Trent Jr.
  • CJ Elleby
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Rodney Hood
  • Robert Covington
  • Zach Collins
  • Nassir Little
  • Jaylen Hoard
  • Jusuf Nurkic
  • Harry Giles
  • Enes Kanter
  • Moses Brown

The group includes 16 players right now, so one will have to be excluded before the start of the season. There are no credible rumors about potential deals at this moment which lead me to believe that the Trail Blazers will rely on that core going into the 2020-21 NBA campaign.

Trail Blazers Starting Five

The starting five of the Trail Blazers is not 100% clear at this point, but there are several positions that are certain.

We know for a fact that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will be the backcourt duo once again. That would result in a prolific offense throughout the regular season.

Dame is one of the best players on that end of the floor in the entire NBA. He is an elite shooter from all distances that can also create for others. His partner can deliver 20+ points per game comfortably and they have been very productive in the past couple of seasons.

They were close to unstoppable in the NBA Bubble last year and that’s a good sign for things to come.

The big problem is that they are vulnerable on the defensive end. That leads me to believe we might see new signing Robert Covington in the starting lineup. He can defend the opposition’s best perimeter player and stretch the floor offensively.

Jusuf Nurkic should be fit at last, which adds extra presence in the paint on both ends. The Bosnian center is a good finisher and solid rim protector. If he can finally stay healthy, the Trail Blazers should be better as a team.

The last spot in the starting lineup is the big enigma and we might see some experiments here. Carmelo Anthony was the player who took it most often last year, but I’m not sure if that will be the case in the 2020-21 season.

He arrived in Portland to provide instant offense from the bench and I expect him to fulfill this role. Zach Collins should be the power forward of the team going forward and that’s the reasonable decision.

The youngster has plenty of potential and contributes in many ways. Collins is a decent defender, he can shoot from the outside, and he grabs a lot of rebounds.

The overall feeling is that the Portland Trail Blazers have a strong starting lineup with one obvious weakness. The perimeter defense is poor, but Dame and CJ can make up for that by delivering 50 points every night.

Portland Trail Blazers Depth Analysis

You need a solid bench to be a contender in the NBA and the Trail Blazers have been suffering in that area lately. I think we might see a change in the upcoming season, though.

Carmelo Anthony should be the main guy after showing that he can still score last season. The Knicks icon averaged more than 15 points per game on respectable shooting splits.

He can carry the offensive burden while CJ and Dame are resting. The other guys who deserve a mention are Enes Kanter, Anfernee Simons, Rodney Hood, and Derrick Jones Jr. That’s a group that certainly can hold it on its own offensively.

The problem is that many of the guys above are bad on the other end, so the Trail Blazers might be involved in plenty of shootouts in the upcoming season.

Final Words

That might sound odd, but I believe that the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2020-21 NBA season will be a slightly better version of … the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019-20 NBA season.

The core of the team is similar, as well as the strengths and weaknesses I can recognize. The productive offense is the strongest advantage of this roster, while the defense will likely stay below average.

The bench is slightly better and Robert Covington could be a useful addition, but I don’t think that would be enough to truly challenge the best teams in the West. A second-round exit in the NBA Playoffs looks like the ceiling of the Trail Blazers.

Let me know if you agree with my opinion in the comments below and check our NBA blog section for more similar posts about other organizations. We also have an NBA betting guide that can help you make better decisions in the upcoming season.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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