Trail Blazers News: Identifying Biggest Position Of Need For Rebuilding Portland

The club could use help pretty much everywhere.
Mar 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots layup shot
Mar 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots layup shot / Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

After three straight tanking seasons under head coach Chauncey Billups, the Portland Trail Blazers' rebuild is set to continue apace this summer.

As Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian writes, one position in particular could use some help. Fentress wonders if the club really has a future starting-caliber forward rostered yet, from among its 25-and-under set of 23-year-old rookie Toumani Camari, 19-year-old rookie Rayan Rupert, 21-year-old Jabari Walker, 23-year-old Kris Murray, or 25-year-old Justin Minaya.

While all these pieces did get significant run (all told, they registered a combined 1,014 minutes), Camara, Walker and Murray got the lions' share of opportunities. All have their own pros and cons. Walker seems particularly intriguing thanks to his ability to clean the glass, but with extended minutes late into the season, his shooting got erratic. When starting, he connected on just 39.4% of his field goals, but off the bench in a smaller role that number rose to 50%.

Camara's defense, though imperfect, is already impressive. He basically outplayed Murray late into the season.

“It’s a convoluted group in a good way,” reflected team GM Joe Cronin said of the logjam of young talent at the position. “It’s one of the big positives of how this season played out.”

Portland likely has a top-10 pick in this summer's forthcoming 2024 NBA draft, with the fifth-best odds of securing the top pick. Several intriguing forwards are projected to be picked within that elite range, including Zaccharie Risacher out of JL Bourg, G League Ignite small forwards Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis, Tennesse wing Dalton Knecht, and Colorado combo forward Cody Williams.

“We’ve got to figure out who’s playing and who isn’t,” Cronin said. “They still have a lot to prove and a lot to earn. And each of those guys that I named have some deficiencies that they have to address this offseason and moving forward.”

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Alex Kirschenbaum


Clyde, Rick Barry, and Pistol Pete Now these players, could never be beat.