Mark Duncan/Associated Press
Receive Kosta Koufos and Mike Miller from the Memphis Grizzlies for C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard
The Portland Trail Blazers have shocked the NBA world this season by going 36-17 through the season's first half. They stand clumped together with several teams at the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture, and have certainly shown no problems scoring the basketball.
Their 112.4 points per 100 possessions ranks first in the league, and they're fourth in three-point shooting at 38 percent. They turn the ball over as infrequently as all but two teams, and they rank fourth in total assists.
It's safe to say that there's nothing worth changing on that end of the floor.
The defense, though, has left much to be desired. They're allowing an eighth-worst 108.1 points per 100 possessions, and are dead last in turnovers forced.
The paint, specifically, is where Portland comes across severe issues on defense. According to teamrankings.com, they're allowing the third-most points in the paint this season, even despite Robin Lopez anchoring the middle fairly effectively on both ends.
If a deal is to be made, one for another post presence is what should be sought after.
The first preference, if you're Portland, would have to be Omer Asik. Though it's unlikely the Blazers would choose to part with several assets GM Daryl Morey would demand in return.
The next big man on the list would be Spencer Hawes of the Philadelphia 76ers, but Hawes doesn't bring the defensive bona fides Portland would be looking for.
There'd need to be some searching involved, but the Memphis Grizzlies may end up as a solid trade partner. The Trail Blazers could target Kosta Koufos, the Grizzlies' reserve center, to play the same role in Portland. In return, they could send two young, little-utilized pieces to a retooling Memphis team: C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard.
Leonard has the potential to grow into a reliable defensive center, but that's not his role at this early stage of his career. If the Blazers feel confident in their core moving forward, they may not see a problem in dealing Leonard and a potential scorer in McCollum.
Koufos has played great defensively this season behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph on the depth chart, holding his opponents to a 46 percent field-goal percentage at the rim, according to NBA.com.
Including Mike Miller in the deal would give Portland another gunner off the bench, and keep Memphis just under the luxury tax level after the trade.
If inserted into the rotation to complement Lopez, Portland could finally have a presence in the middle to deter opponents from driving the lane at will. It wouldn't turn the Blazers into a defensively elite club, but it would certainly put them in a better position to handle the Western powerhouses in a postseason series.