2023-24 NBA Season Preview: Portland Trail Blazers

Last season did not go the way that the Blazers wanted it to. In fact, the past two seasons haven’t. They expected to make the playoffs, but heading into 2023-24 season the Portland Trail Blazers will be in a rebuild. What we saw from Damian Lillard last season was nothing short of amazing, now the franchise cornerstone has moved on. He states he’ll be back to finish his career in Portland, but we’ll see when the time comes.

After making the playoffs for eight straight seasons under Terry Stotts, the Portland Trail Blazers have been consistently disappointing under Chauncey Billups. They haven’t made it to the playoffs or even a play-in. The trip to the Western Conference Finals now seems like forever ago. Only one player remains from that team… Anfernee Simons. So how will the Portland Trail Blazers fare during the 2023-24 season?

Key Additions:

Scoot Henderson

The No. 3 overall pick has looked good so far both in Summer League and in Training Camp. Some say he will be Lillards replacement, which may be true. Though, he says he’s here to be Scoot not Lillard. He has already stated that he’s committed to winning the Rookie of the Year Award… so Blazers fans might be in for a treat with this young man.

Deandre Ayton

Adding a big man who fits the age gap Portland is rolling with was a smart move. Ayton had some issues in Phoenix but seems ecstatic to be in Portland so far. When he entered the league, his NBA Draft comparisons were Shawn Kemp and David Robinson.

Malcolm Brogdon

No matter how long the Blazers intend to keep Brogdon, he’s the perfect NBA Veteran to teach guys like Scoot, Shaedon Sharpe and Simons. He was Rookie of the Year, has been a starter and took a bench role last season and was named the Sixth Man of the Year. Having a guy like that in the locker room is important.

Key Losses:

Damian Lillard

No matter how you look at it, losing Lillard sucks for the Blazers. He’s been the face of the franchise for so many years. Has made many big shots and even led the Blazers to the playoffs for eight straight years. He might not have been the greatest defender but at times, his offense made up for that.

Trendon Watford

With the Blazers headed for a rebuild, it honestly made no sense for the team to cut the 22-year-old. He was young, he played well and was becoming a fan-favorite. What more could you ask for?

Nassir Little

Adding Little into the Lillard deal made a little sense. They were going to have to offload a young player to get rid of both Jusuf Nurkic and Lillard. He also has been in Portland for four years with no real sense of growth, still, he’s just 23 years old but how long can you keep a player around in the hopes that they get better?

Projected Roster:

Starting Lineup: Simons, Sharpe, Matisse Thybulle, Jerami Grant, Ayton

The more you look at it, this doesn’t look like a bad roster. In fact, it’s got some key pieces that would be needed on a young team. Brogdon and Grant will serve as vets to the young guys. Three of the pieces that Portland may build around are right here in the starting lineup.

Bench: Henderson, Brogdon, Robert Williams III, Kris Murray, Moses Brown, Kevin Knox, Toumani Camara, Jabari Walker

Outside of the first three in this group, it’s a mystery. There’s a lot of young future potential stars on the bench. Some guys have had a little run of success in the NBA. Scoot will start at some point, but I don’t know if it will be within the first 20 games.

Season Outlook:

It’ll be interesting to see what Billups can do with the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2023-24 season. I expect them to shock some people and be better than everyone is giving them credit for. It’s a young team (average age: 23) with no big star, no egos… they’re going to be moving the ball a lot. Everyone is going to be getting touches and everyone will be happy. I’d expect this team to win somewhere around 32 games.


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