The Blazers hit rock bottom last season with the injury of Damian Lillard which marked the end of a cycle, materialized by multiple transfers, including that of CJ McCollum. But Portland wants to bounce back quickly to convince its “franchise player” to stay, and the “front office” therefore seized the ball during the offseason.
First big shot: Jerami Grantd. Gary Payton II came to add density to the back posts, without forgetting the reinforcement of Drew Eubanks inside. What to satisfy GM Joe Cronin? Not yet…
“With a healthy Damian Lillard, you are still competitive. Then you have to put enough quality parts around it to take the next step. This is our challenge and what we are trying to accomplish. I feel like we’ve taken steps in that direction, but I think we all admit we’re not there yet.” did he declare.
A roster still under construction
The Blazers roster is currently filled with 15 players under contract. There remains only a “two-way contract” to accompany Brandon Williams. This does not prevent Joe Cronin from remaining attentive to opportunities.
“I don’t think you’ll ever hear me say, ‘We stop there.’ There are times when you use all your tools, whether contracts, players likely to set up a trade or Draft choices (…). At this point, I don’t think we’re out of tools and I don’t think we’re happy with where we are.”.
Joe Cronin, however, recognized the value of his team as it stands, although there are still many unknowns.
“At the same time, I want to see this band play together and grow. It’s just that we don’t have a lot of common denominators to put forward to say, ‘A healthy Damian played with players X, Y and Z’. Really, the only guy Damian has played with while healthy is Jusuf Nurkic. So we have a lot of unknowns in this roster that I’m intrigued to see play, but at the same time I want to stay aggressive and I want to keep building as fast and as best as possible.”
For now, Joe Cronin has not set a specific goal for his team for next season. The Blazers will still be in a construction logic, keeping the right to hope for a good surprise.
“I want to see them come out and play the style of basketball that we’re trying to build here, be extremely competitive, have a defensive spirit and play together. I think with our talent base, if we do those things, it will take us to very good levels. We will then have to continue to build from there”.
|Larry Nance, Jr.||37||23.2||51.5||30.6||65.3||1.6||4.1||5.6||2.0||0.7||1.0||0.4||1.8||6.9|
|Greg Brown III||48||13.3||42.6||31.1||67.7||0.8||2.0||2.8||0.7||0.8||0.5||0.5||1.9||4.7|