No Moves, No Problem
Leading up to the 2014 NBA trade deadline, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts didn’t anticipate any roster moves. “We can and we need to improve defensively with what we have now, because I don’t anticipate any roster changes,” Stotts said, according to Sean Deveny of The Sporting News.
As it turns out, the coach was right, as the deadline came and went without a single move from general manager Neil Olshey.
The lack of movement in Rip City is fitting considering how dreadfully uneventful the deadline ended up being. Despite rumors swirling for weeks surrounding players of all calibers, not a single move shook up the league in the traditional sense; unless, of course, you consider the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers swapping Danny Granger and Evan Turner to be a monumental shift.
From Portland’s perspective, it makes sense that no deal was ever reached.
The Blazers clearly lacked tradable assets entering the Feb. 20 deadline, and unless someone truly bought into the potential of Meyers Leonard or Thomas Robinson, the team really didn’t have anybody it was willing to ship out.
Kudos to Olshey for not letting temporary problems push his hand, but the bigger issue is that the team could have desperately used another presence off the bench in the frontcourt.
For as much potential as Leonard and Thomas Robinson have, neither has proven that he can have any sort of significant impact come the playoffs.
Portland has a legitimate chance of making it to the second round in the 2014 postseason, but if it can’t make that dream become a reality, chances are, it will be because the bigs off the bench couldn’t hold their own against stronger, smarter veteran presences.
Aside from assets on the roster, Olshey lacked one of the most sought-after commodities at this year’s deadline: draft picks.
Having already traded away the team’s first- and second-round picks for this upcoming draft (one of the most highly anticipated drafts in recent memory), Olshey had very few pieces to offer when it came to the league’s sellers — a.k.a., tanking teams who would trade valuable pieces for upcoming picks.
Olshey’s decision to stand pat is going to be questioned by some when it comes to the immediate success of the organization, but the hope here is that his long-term vision is still intact.
He’s strategically established the current roster to allow flexibility in the 2015 offseason, and chances are, his execution at that time will outweigh any quick fix he came across at the 2014 deadline.
The hope now is that Stotts’ words ring true, and that the team can improve defensively as is before it’s given a dose of reality in the 2014 postseason.