The Trail Blazers have a solid starting five, that is mainly credited with their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Both have a heavy usage, and they need to handle the scoring workload given they don’t have a wing that can chip in. The minutes are heavy for these two without much depth, and on occasion Evan Turner can handle the ball-handling role so they can play off the ball. Moe Harkless is their starting small forward, yet fails to make a tremendous impact most nights, and that is why Turner comes into the game playing a heavy role off the bench. Al-Farouq Aminu is an above average defending power forward, who plays the secondary role on this team. On occasion he flashes some solid games, but Jusuf Nurkic is the front court option who has a much bigger offensive role.
Preseason Analysis: Can't Get out of the 1st Round
When looking at Portland the offense just about runs through two players — Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard is overshadowed in the league, but is a tremendous point guard who puts up big numbers and big minutes on a nightly basis. That is not going to change heading into the new year. Portland does not have many offensive weapons outside of the backcourt, so the near 30% usage rate will stay in place. McCollum is somewhat of the secondary player, but his production is why the shooting guard position was so strong last year. McCollum has taken major strides each year on both sides of the ball, and I would not expect anything otherwise.
With some bad contracts recently, Portland has been limited in adding a third weapon, but even just better role players around these two. Seth Curry is a better backup, and being the first guard off the bench in Portland should give him some fantasy value. The small forward position has been a wasteland in Portland, as Moe Harkless and Evan Turner are not starting caliber players. Both are likely to split time, but usage is going to be very hit and miss for both. Turner has a bit more upside given his ability to play on the ball and let the guards roam free. The front court has been a lot of bad draft picks, and a few of them are now out of the picture. Al-Farouq Aminu is still the starting power forward, and has some fantasy value across all categories. He is fairly matchup dependent. With Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh gone, Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins, and Meyers Leonard are the remaining bigs outside of Jusuf Nurkic. Swanigan is someone who can bring some low-end fantasy value. Nurkic had a down year in terms of our fantasy hope, but has the skills to rebound and be that third option in Portland.