Defense remains a major concern for the Portland Trail Blazers and it could affect their chance of making a deep playoff run this season. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Trail Blazers will be trading for Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers to add a quality rim protector on their team.
The Trail Blazers continue to underperform in the 2016-17 NBA season despite having an explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. They are currently in the 8th spot in the Western Conference with a 16-23 win-loss record. With their current status, no one sees the Trail Blazers contending for the title this season.
In the recent offseason, they pursued Hassan Whiteside to boost their frontcourt. Unfortunately, Whiteside decided to re-sign with the Miami Heat. The 27-year-old admitted that Portland was his second option but he’s more interested in becoming the Heat’s next franchise player.
The Trail Blazers’ high-powered offense is the major reason why they remain as a playoff contender this season. However, they should consider improving their defense if they want to reach a higher level. So far, Portland ranks 29th in the NBA’s defensive efficiency, allowing 109.8 points per 100 possessions.
NERLENS NOEL COULD ANSWER PORTLAND’S LACK OF RIM PROTECTION
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Trail Blazers could look for a quality rim protector available on the market. Andrew Bogut, Tyson Chandler, and Nerlens Noel are some of the big men who are expected to be dealt before the February deadline. Of all the three, trading for Noel would make sense for the Trail Blazers.
“Noel makes a ton of sense; he is a gifted shot blocker who’s also capable of switching onto the perimeter, and he’s only 22 years old. Plus, Noel is a restricted free agent this summer, so the Blazers would have the ability to match any offer sheet he’s given. It’s easy to think of potential deals, too,” O’Connor wrote.
In a suggested trade scenario, Portland sends Allen Crabbe and a future first-round pick to the Sixers for Nerlens Noel. However, both teams should wait until Jan. 15 to make the deal, exactly three months after Crabbe signed a new contract. In the recent free agency, the Trail Blazers matched the Nets’ four-year, $75 million offer to bring Crabbe back.
However, his contract is obviously expensive for a player who comes off the bench. If the trade proceeds, the Sixers will be having a reliable shooting guard which they really need to improve their ranking in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Noel will give the Trail Blazers a quality rim protector to solve their defensive issues.
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