Portland Trail Blazers Updated Depth Chart: Starting lineup with Jrue Holiday and Deandre Ayton explored
The Portland Trail Blazers finally traded superstar point guard Damian Lillard on Wednesday after nearly three months of deliberations. However, Portland’s return was not what most fans expected as Lillard was shockingly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal involving Phoenix. The Blazers still got back some key veteran assets and future picks, though, which provided a major shake-up to their depth chart.
As for players heading to Portland in the Lillard deal, these include veteran star guard Jrue Holiday, center Deandre Ayton and rookie forward Toumani Camara. The Blazers also received Milwaukee’s unprotected 2029 first-round pick and unprotected pick swap rights with Milwaukee in 2028 and 2030.
Meanwhile, Phoenix got back veteran big man Jusuf Nurkic, shooting guard Grayson Allen, and forwards Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.
Portland is still expected to make additional moves to balance out its roster, but for now, the Trail Blazers’ updated depth chart is as follows:
Following the Lillard trade, the Trail Blazers now only have one player over 30 years old on their roster in Holiday (33). Meanwhile, the team is sorely lacking reliable depth in their frontcourt. So, it seems pretty clear that Portland is entering a rebuilding phase centered around 2023 No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson.
However, depending on how the Trail Blazers’ young players develop, they may still be fairly competitive, despite likely finishing toward the bottom of the Western Conference.
As of now, the Trail Blazers’ best starting five appear to be Jrue Holiday, Anfernee Simons/Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant and Deandre Ayton. However, if Portland prefers additional defense in its starting lineup then the team could opt to start Matisse Thybulle on the wing.
Jrue Holiday reportedly not expected to remain in Portland
Shortly after the news of the Damian Lillard trade broke, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski put out a supplementary report regarding Jrue Holiday’s future in Portland. According to Wojnarowski, Holiday is not expected to remain with the Blazers and the team has already begun fielding offers for the veteran star:
“The Blazers remain engaged elsewhere on deals and are expected to immediately engage contending teams on trade talks to move on Jrue Holiday, sources tell ESPN. Portland is committed to its young group of talented guards."
Holiday may already be 33, however, he is coming off his first All-Star season since 2013. In addition, the veteran has already proven that he can play a key role on an NBA championship team in 2021.
So, the Blazers should be able to get back a fair amount of assets if they ultimately trade Holiday. This, in turn, should help Portland balance out its roster and continue to build for the future.
Holiday averaged 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.4 3-pointers per game on 47.9% shooting over 67 games last season.