One of the team’s that’s not getting near the amount of buzz that they probably should leading up to the 2013-2014 NBA season is the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers missed the playoffs last year despite another solid year from LaMarcus Aldridge and a Rookie of the Year performance from point guard Damian Lillard.
A large reason for Portland’s lack of success in the 2012-2013 season was the fact that their bench was abysmal. Ask almost anyone who watches the NBA and they will tell you that the Blazers had one of the worst benches in the entire league. However, after adding Thomas Robinson, Mo Williams, C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe this off-season, this is now a team that could make some noise with that bolstered rotation.
However, the Blazers have been receiving a bit of buzz in regards to trade rumors. Countless times over the summer, the idea of the Blazers trading their star forward in Aldridge has been thrown into the rumor mill, with several teams, most notably the Chicago Bulls, reportedly expressing interest.
Assuming that all of these rumors are true, it would be a major surprise if the Blazers traded Aldridge prior to the start of the upcoming season. A large part of that is because the team needs to see what they have in Robinson.
Robinson played in 70 games over his rookie season, splitting his year between the Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets. For the season he averaged just 4.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.6 steals in 15.1 minutes per game and shot only 43 percent from the floor. However, it’s safe to attribute at least some of his lack of success to the fact that he was never able to establish a role for the Kings or Rockets last year.
When it comes to having the tools to succeed in this league, Robinson has them. He has a nice offensive game and is a great rebounder. He has the potential, certainly, to be an impact player in this league.
The problem that the Blazers face is that they don’t know how long it will take Robinson to develop or if he ever will. Because of that, it would be an enormous gamble for them to trade Aldridge and put their eggs in the Robinson basket. Obviously they could get another power forward in return for Aldridge, but an Aldridge trade would still seem like a vote-of-confidence for Robinson.
Essentially, it seems that logic dictates that an Aldridge trade will have to wait if it is going to happen at all. At this point, it would be entirely too great of a risk for Portland to trade away Aldridge and bank on Robinson panning out. They more than likely will need to see him play and succeed in a consistent role, even if it’s just for half of a season, before they can make that kind of commitment.