DK Nation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2022-23 campaign. Here we take a look at the Portland Trail Blazers, who hope to thread the needle between contention and building for the future.
Portland Trail Blazers 2022-23 Outlook
Key additions: Jerami Grant, Shaedon Sharpe, Gary Payton II
Getting Grant for a future first-round pick was excellent value, especially if the forward can continue to develop as an offensive threat. Sharpe is dealing with an injury from Summer League and remains a great unknown. Payton II is an excellent defensive player who should get rotation minutes.
Key departures: Joe Ingles
Ingles was a salary dump proposition last year for Utah, and was unlikely to re-sign in Portland anyway. He would’ve been a nice role player alongside Lillard, especially due to his ball-handling and three-point shooting. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, Ingles chose the Bucks in free agency.
The expectations under Lillard have been to make the playoffs and make noise in the playoffs. After missing postseason play last year, Portland should aim to get back in the field this season.
Projected starting lineup
Lillard and Grant will be in the starting five, as will Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic. The fifth spot is up for grabs and likely comes down to either Nassir Little or Josh Hart. The latter might have the edge due to his defense and three-point shooting.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Jerami Grant
Grant averaged 20.9 points per game in the last two seasons with the Pistons, easily the beset offensive showing he’s had. Will he able to have the same shot opportunities in Portland with Lillard and Simons around? Grant is entering his prime and should be a bigger focus of this team but it’s hard to see the backcourt giving up shots. Grant might be a bit overdrafted in fantasy formats based on previous production, so be wary.