Blazers fizzle in the off-season

The Portland Trail Blazers face a rocky path to the playoffs after off-season moves


Matthew Smith

The Trail Blazers warm up at the Moda Center before the game begins

The Portland Trail Blazers are just one off-season removed from a milestone season in which they had a 13 game winning streak. This success came in the midst of a season where the Blazers finished 49-33 and third in the west. However, the season ended very disappointingly with the Blazers being embarrassed and swept by the New Orleans Pelicans despite having the home-court advantage. Therefore, the Blazers have been looking forward to the new season and redemption for a long time.

Over the off-season, Neil Olshey (the general manager of the Blazers) made a few moves to try and improve the team. Yet, he did not improve the team at all, and it is safe to say he made the team even worse. First off, he let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier go in free agency. Napier and Davis were both reliable backups who played hard and were two of the minority of players that actually played defense. Olshey also succeeded in disposing of fan favorite and star bench player Pat Connaughton.

To try and improve the team during the 2018 NBA Draft, Olshey decided to draft a high schooler (Anfernee Simons) who did not even dominate in high school basketball….  Then, for some odd reason, Olshey went out and signed multiple small guards – Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry – which happens to already be the position of our two best players. However, when longtime Blazer fan Andrew Classen was asked how the off-season was he said, “Decent, they added more shooters and scorers but they lost Pat.”

Nevertheless, due to the success of the backcourt consisting of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard, the Blazers will probably still perform up to par. Classen agreed with me, and he predicts the Blazers will get the 4th seed in the West.

It will remain to be seen how good the Blazers will be this NBA season. I predict they will be around the 5th or 6th seed in the Western Conference, but then they will disappoint again in the playoffs. Perhaps, if Olshey kept Connaughton and drafted a better player like Michigan State SF Miles Bridges, the Blazers could have competed for the Western Conference title.