The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the biggest winners of the offseason for sure. They lost Hassan Whiteside but added a top-notch defender in Robert Covington, and will get Rodney Hood back at full strength for the start of the season.
It seems like the Blazers are often overlooked. People seem to sleep on them because they've yet to make it to the NBA Finals but they've been a perennial contender out of the Western Conference since Damian Lillard made it to the league.
And now that they've reshaped their roster and built a squad that meshes altogether perfectly, and more importantly, now that they're fully healthy, they could finally get over the hump. Today, we'll take a look at how their starting lineup will look like in the 2020-21 season.
Bench: Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., CJ Elleby, Rodney Hood, Carmelo Anthony, Nassir Little, Jaylen Hoard, Zach Collins, Enes Kanter, Harry Giles, Moses Brown
Point Guard: Damian Lillard
There wasn't a single doubt that Damian Lillard was going to run the point for the Portland Trail Blazers. He's healthy from that injury he suffered during the bubble and is poised to prove that he's one of the best scorers and players in the league.
Lillard is the undisputed leader of this team. They'll only go as far as he leads them. However, now that they have more weapons, it seems like he won't have to drop 50 points and 10 assists every night just to carry his team back to the playoffs.
Shooting Guard: CJ McCollum
While it's safe to say that CJ McCollum never took a step forward and turned into the dominant scorer we thought he'd be, he's still a walking bucket and one of the craftiest players in the league. Contrary to what most people believe, he's actually perfect next to Lillard.
McCollum has fully embraced his role as the Blazers' second gunman. He can play on and off the ball, run the offense, and carry the load when Lillard's getting a breather on the bench. Hopefully, he'll finally have the All-Star caliber season we've been waiting for for a while now.
Small Forward: Derrick Jones Jr
The Portland Trail Blazers made a lowkey great addition by signing Derrick Jones Jr. He's vastly improved as a defender over the past couple of years and knows how to make the most of his length and freakish athleticism to stay in front of his defender.
While he's not exactly a shooter, his mid and long-range games have also improved lately. Then again, he's not likely to log that many minutes with Carmelo Anthony ready to take on the court off the bench for RIP City next season. Yeah, it'll be weird watching Melo subbing in instead of starting.
Power Forward: Robert Covington
Robert Covington is perhaps the best 3-and-D player in the league right now and there's nothing you could say to change my mind. His addition is going to be huge for the Blazers if he can stay healthy, which has been the lone concern over him lately.
Covington can guard one through five. He's strong, savvy, athletic, quick, and has some incredible instincts and reads to get stops no matter what it takes. He's also improved a lot as a spot-up and catch-and-shoot threat from beyond the arc.
Center: Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic was a beast for the Portland Trail Blazers last season when he was healthy. He's exactly the kind of heavy-footed, strong, rim-protecting big man they craved and why they didn't hesitate to just let Hassan Whiteside walk away.
Nurkic is one of the best roll-men in the league. He sets tough screens, can dominate both ends of the glass, and has even added the three-point shot to his repertoire. He may not get the credit he deserves but his presence is huge for this team.