The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the most respected Western Conference teams. They have had some incredibly talented players play for their franchise and have been to the NBA Finals three times. However, they haven't been successful lately and last won an NBA title in 1977.
Portland have had disappointing playoff exits over the last six years and are looking to make their 4th NBA Finals appearance. After drafting Damian Lillard in the 2012 NBA Draft, they have reignited their hopes for a title.
Portland Trailblazers' predicted starting 5 for the 2020-21 season
After their upsetting 2019-20 NBA season, the Blazers look to reaffirm their status as a top Western Conference team. They have made some strong offseason moves such as re-signing Enes Kanter after he had a great season with them. Let's take a look at the starting 5 for the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of next season.
Point Guard - Damian Lillard
The choice for Portland's starting point guard was never in doubt. Damian Lillard has evolved into a superstar in this league and he is the Trailblazers' face of the franchise. He is often labeled as 'unguardable' due to his long-range threes and ability to shoot the ball from anywhere beyond half court. He often commands double-teams and has the IQ to guide his team with remarkable passes and playmaking when his shots aren't falling.
Damian Lillard, commonly known as "Dame Dolla", has rekindled the Portland Trail Blazers' hopes of another NBA title. The 5-time All-Star is regarded as one of the best point guards in the league and currently holds the largest contract with a guarantee of $257 million dollars.
Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum
Christian James McCollum, commonly known as CJ, was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2013 as the 10th overall pick. He has been an ideal pairing in the backcourt with Damian Lillard and many analysts believe that if not for the existence of the Golden State Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Lillard and McCollum could be considered as the best backcourt in the NBA.
CJ McCollum is one of the league's best shot creators and scorers. He has a smooth mid range game and is a great three-point shooter at 39 percent. He has averaged over 20 points per game since 2015 and led the NBA in free-throw percentage in 2017 at 91.2%.
Small Forward - Robert Covington
Robert Covington is one of the best '3-and-D' players in the NBA. He was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on the 22nd of November this year, in exchange for Trevor Ariza, the draft rights to Isaiah Stewart, and a conditional future first-round pick. Covington was selected to the All-Defensive First team two years ago and averages 2.3 threes per game on 35% shooting.
Covington will provide the Blazers with much-needed defense on the perimeter and can catch-and-shoot off of McCollum and Lillard's feeds. Covington's recent roles, playing the Power Forward and the Center, have improved his rebounding as well.
Power Forward - Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony's return in the Portland Trail Blazers has been a success. He averages 32 minutes and 15 points per game, maintaining a field goal percentage of 43%. Carmelo has experience playing the Power Forward position and his height makes it easier for him to grab rebounds. In his 18th year in the league, he is a veteran presence on the roster.
Carmelo Anthony would be a great fit as a forward on the Portland roster. His ability to shoot the three makes him a threat from beyond the arc and allows for fluid ball rotation, as four of the five starters can operate on the three-point line.
Center - Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic has been the Portland Trail Blazers' bonafide center over the last few years. Also known as 'The Bosnian Beast', Nurkic has enjoyed some of his best seasons as a Trail Blazer. He is a 7-foot rim-protecting presence in the paint and averages 2 blocks per game.
In one of his most notable games, Nurkic dropped 20+ points and rebounds in a game after he was informed of his grandmother's death. He has been dealing with injury issues but will probably be the starting center for Portland in the 2020-21 NBA season. Enes Kanter's presence on the roster also allows Nurkic to manage his minutes better.