DaVoiceMaster wrote:Jason, are you trying to win games? Leonard wasn't worth $10 million when the Blazers signed him last time. He's a vet minimum player, nothing more. That second unit is scary and not in a good way.
Look, trading Leonard wasn't something we wanted to do last off-season. But with Nurkić out for most of the regular season, we felt we needed a more traditional center to pair with Collins for 30 to 40 minutes a game. But with Nurkić back, we like the idea of a Nurkić/Collins/Leonard trio. Leonard can shoot. 50-40-90 potential. Help spread the floor giving Nurk and Collins room to work in the interior. He gives us a third legit seven footer, something most teams don't have the luxury of having. We knew when we drafted him we'd have to be patient with him. Entering his ninth season, we're hoping he'll take that next step forward.
The second unit was listed by position - not by playing time. Cole Anthony probably is not going to get many minutes as rookie. That frees up CJ and Hezonja for minutes being the secondary ball handler or primary ball handler when Dame is out. There's always a chance Cole can play from day one, but you don't want to put that unnecessary pressure on him when we've got other talented players that fit that role.
Carmelo is a starter because, over his career, he has earned it. But don't expect him to be playing 30-40 minutes a night on most nights. Also expect him to play spot minutes at the 4 instead of the 3. We're expecting big things from Trent. He's one of the hardest workers. Total gym rat. His bubble performance caught a lot of the league off guard, but not us. Hood is still a question mark. His recovery has gone well, but there's always the risk when you have an injury like his of his full athleticism not coming back. So we're cautious.
But if you look at the 8 deep, and that's really what we focus on - Dame, CJ, Nurkić, Collins, Trent, Anthony, Leonard, and Hezonja - you got a core that I think can really make a run in the west. Plus you got Hood as an x-factor. Simons still looks like he could be a star in this league. Gabriel made major strides during the bubble. Little is progressing. We hope that we don't need to tap into that depth over the season, but we're glad it's there.
Look, I would love to sign a LeBron James in free agency and to be gifted an Anthony Davis in trade. But that's not realistically going to happen. So how do you make the team better? The draft. Free agency. And trades. We got who we felt were the best players available in the draft. We got the starting center from one of the NBA Finals teams in free agency. Which, by the way, him coming back to Portland when he could easily have stayed in Miami shows you how great the culture here is. And we're open to making trades if it makes the team better. But we're not going to make trades that don't move the needle.
We also tucked in just under the luxury tax, which is big. We definitely wanted to avoid that repeater tax. And we did so without giving up picks. We still have that fifteenth roster spot available in case a veteran or a player that, maybe just needs a new home or a new start, becomes available.
Again, this is a team that made the Western Conference Finals just over a year ago. And what were people saying then? You can't win with Dame and CJ, and yet they did. We're also one of the youngest teams, with 9 of the 14 players being 26 or younger. I think there's a lot to like here.