After another disappointing campaign, the Portland Trail Blazers once again find themselves entering an offseason with more questions than answers.
The team wrapped up its 2022-23 campaign with a 157-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, giving Portland a final record of 33-49. Veteran guard Damian Lillard had one of the best seasons of his career, but the Blazers weren’t able to put it to good use.
It’s no secret that the organization needs to give the 32-year-old significantly more help in order for him to have a chance to bring a title to Portland. Fortunately for Blazers fans, according to Lillard, there are “needle-movers” who want to join the team.
Dame says there are "needle-movers" who want to come to Portland, but now it comes down to acquiring those players.
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 9, 2023
Lillard’s loyalty to the Blazers is often a major storyline in today’s NBA, and basketball fans would certainly love to see Portland surround the seven-time All-Star with some championship-caliber pieces. The team clearly has a lot of work to do this offseason.
Players like Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons were productive for the Blazers this season. Grant averaged 20.5 points per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from deep. Simons, meanwhile, averaged 21.1 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the field and 37.7 percent from deep.
Simons is set to return to Portland next season. Grant, on the other hand, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but it seems like there’s a good chance he’ll stick around with the Blazers.
Jerami Grant says the same thing Damian Lillard said about his free agency this summer: he expects to be back.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 9, 2023
But as fans saw this season, even with players like Grant and Simons (among others), the Blazers definitely don’t have a contending roster as currently constructed, so it’s going to be another important summer for the squad.
Lillard averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game this season while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. In a regular season that featured tons of scoring in the NBA, Lillard was able to get in on the fun and prove that he’s still one of the best guards in the league.
Now, he’ll look to do it again next season while winning some games along the way. The Blazers haven’t won a playoff series since 2019, and the team will look to change that in the 2023-24 season.