Portland Trail Blazers: 8 Point Guards the Team Must Target Next Season
The Portland Trail Blazers have a number of areas to improve this summer, but point guard is arguably at the top of the list.
Raymond Felton was supposed to be the answer at the point guard position, but with the way he performed most of this past year, it’s unlikely he returns to the roster at all next season.
Whether it be through the draft, free agency, or finding a viable trade partner, the Blazers must find a new floor general as they begin their rebuilding process this summer.
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Deron Williams will arguably be the toughest name on this list to obtain this summer, but if the Blazers are smart, they’ll do everything in their power to bring the three-time All-Star to Rip City.
His fastbreak and pick-and-role game would be perfectly showcased alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, and his ability to shoot and score would take some of the pressure off the All-Star forward.
Williams, a Dallas-area native, is considered a major target of the Dallas Mavericks this summer. Aldridge is also a Dallas native, and while he may be in the middle of his five-year deal with the Blazers, he’s already begun joking with Williams about teaming up back home someday in Dallas.
The Blazers need to do everything they can to persuade Williams to take his talents to Portland before he begins the recruiting process to lure his fellow Dallas native to the Midwest.
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Goran Dragic’s “audition” in Portland went well this season, as he recorded 22 points, seven assists and shot 4-of-6 from the three-point line against the Blazers.
The 6’3” point guard can both facilitate and score in the fastbreak, and could be the target of many different teams this offseason.
Following the best season of his NBA career, Dragic could be a solid pickup for Portland, and would command far less money than a Deron Williams-like superstar would on the free-agent market this summer.
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Steve Nash may not be the point guard of the future in Rip City, but he is certainly a player who would help bring the Blazers back to Western Conference relevancy immediately, if he signed with the team next season.
Arguably the best shooting point guard in the history of the NBA, Nash is a threat to score in both the half-court and fastbreak settings.
His pick-and-roll game is about as good as it gets, and in a season where LaMarcus Aldridge faced the most double-teams he’s ever seen, having a point guard who can get him the ball where he needs it could help the All-Star forward’s game moving forward.
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Aaron Brooks spent the past year in China, and while the competition was arguably nowhere near what the NBA has to offer, he managed to average 21.1 points, 4.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game this season.
Brooks is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, but in an offseason that should see the Suns making major changes in Phoenix, he could be snatched up for relatively cheap by the Trail Blazers.
His adjustment back to the NBA is a reason to be wary, but for a guy who averaged 19.6 points, 5.3 assists and shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line in 2010, the learning curve should be relatively small in his comeback next season.
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Kendall Marshall’s 7.8 points-per-game average isn’t necessarily going to take the pressure off the team’s scorers moving forward, but his 9.8 assists will certainly help get them in the right position.
The NBA has seemingly made a transition to a new brand of athletic, score-first point guards, but on a team where LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to be the franchise player moving forward, the Blazers don’t need a point guard who is going to take over games on his own.
Marshall is a floor general if there ever was one, and if the Blazers pick him up in the draft this summer, they’re going to find themselves with a pure facilitator running the offense next season.
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The team may not need a score-first point guard, but the way Damian Lillard has been moving up mock drafts, the Blazers would be foolish to ignore his talent when evaluating lottery picks this summer.
Lillard averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game—along with 1.5 steals—during his junior year at Weber State.
His upside may be high, but the risk is certainly there if his shot doesn’t fall and his athleticism doesn’t thrive at the next level.
Lillard is a talented guard, though, so if the Blazers are truly looking to draft the best available players this summer, they should take a hard look at him if they choose to use both picks in the upcoming NBA draft.
The Blazers have two potential lottery picks coming their way this summer, and if they deem that proven talent is more valuable than rookie prospects, Rajon Rondo should be on their radar this summer.
Rondo has been seemingly on the trade block since last summer, and while the Boston Celtics have the possibility of losing both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to free agency, general manager Danny Ainge has openly talked about his willingness to break up the team via trade.
If Ainge is really looking to rebuild, what could be a better turnaround than two lottery picks in a stacked NBA draft?
Rondo’s game needs improvement in the areas of shooting; but quite frankly, that’s about it.
The guy has become a triple-double machine, can run the fastbreak and would be a master at getting LaMarcus Aldridge the ball in the right spots night in and night out.
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Picking up Andre Miller might look like a backward move for an organization moving forward, but if the team is unable to find its point guard of the future this summer, he could be a solid option for the immediate future.
Nate McMillan is gone, and it was the coach’s system that had seemingly bogged down the veteran point guard during the early part of his two-year stay in Portland.
Brandon Roy is also gone, meaning that there will be less competition over who controls the ball coming up the floor in the half-court offense.
Despite not having much of a perimeter game, Miller is one of the craftiest point guards in the NBA and can make plays in the paint when his jumper isn't falling.
Being a true facilitator with the Blazers next season, the 36-year-old veteran could help the team transition while they search for their long-term option at the point guard position.