The Portland Trail Blazers are a team on the verge of something special.
They have a young superstar in Brandon Roy, a suitable sidekick in LaMarcus Aldridge, and an able front office led by Kevin Pritchard.
So what is the next step for this young team?
The Houston Rockets exposed the two biggest weaknesses of this year's Blazers team: They don't have a second perimeter scorer that can create his own shot and they don't have a point guard that can both run the team and guard the quicker point guards in the league.
In a perfect world, the Blazers could solve both of these problems by trading for either Deron Williams or Chris Paul, but that's not happening. So Portland will need to use its other great resource—depth—to fill these needs in another way.
Portland's greatest opportunity for immediate improvement is to package Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez, and any necessary draft picks to bring in a veteran point guard.
Moving Outlaw would allow the Blazers to fill his sixth-man role with Rudy Fernandez, who showed in the playoffs that not only does he have a better upside than Outlaw, but is a better player right now. He has already proven he can shoot from the outside and he has, at times, shown the ability to get into the paint and create his own shot.
Also, the combination of Outlaw, Rodriguez, and draft picks would be the sort of package required to bring in a point guard along the lines of Andre Miller, Mike Bibby, or Raymond Felton.
Bringing in one of these point guards would allow Steve Blake to go to the bench and immediately become one of the league's best backup point guards. It would also give Jarryd Bayless a few years to develop into a true point guard while giving the Blazers a chance to make some noise in the playoffs next season.
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