The Portland Trail Blazers need to make some big changes, and not rely on simply a head-coaching change.
Heading into the offseason, the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to be one of the more teams actively trying to improve their roster. And it will start with the team hiring a new head coach. Although, I’m concerned that is where it’ll end.
According to Neil Olshey, Portland‘s general manager, the team is content with the foundation of the roster – and he makes it clear that it goes beyond just Damian Lillard, which could be an issue.
I hate to be that guy, but if Olshey believes that this team is going to solve its big problems by just hiring a new head coach, they deserve to lose Lillard. Even if head-coaching was the problem in the first place for the Blazers, this team doesn’t have the pieces in place that it’s going to take to compete in the West. That much has been evident over the last couple of seasons.
This team hit its ceiling when they made the Western Conference Finals a few years ago. It was great but at that moment, in that series, it was evident that this team had, in a way, outkicked its coverage.
The Blazers looked overwhelmed in the big spotlight against a contender and much like a team that had overachieved to get there. Since then, the Blazers have been subject to back-to-back first-round playoff exits.
The Blazers have a solid foundation between Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic, but if they want to compete with other contenders in the West, they’re going to need to improve that core. The Blazers have a solid foundation to be a playoff team for years to come. Winning a championship takes an entirely different level of roster-building.
And, right now, the Blazers aren’t in that place just yet.
I won’t sit here and act as if I know what the Blazers need to do to get back into contention in the West. But I also won’t sit here and act as if a new head coach is something that is going to drastically change the dynamic of this team and significantly raise the ceiling.
If the Blazers want to take the next step up the ladder in the West, and perhaps keep Lillard content in Portland, it’s going to take moves much bigger than just hiring a new head coach.