Despite the emergence of Nassir Little, the Portland Trail Blazers should still be traded for an extra wing
The Portland Trail Blazers have been tinkering with their roster internally throughout the season. Head Coach Chauncey Billups threw a multitude of combinations against the wall in an attempt to find some that will stick; In 32 games, the Blazers have already played 179 different five-player rosters. The most imminent issue for the coach to resolve is the team’s lack of wing options.
Billups’ latest iteration of the starting lineup features Damian Lillard and Norman Powell in the backcourt, Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic holding the big positions, and Nassir Little introduced as the small starting striker. While fans were understandably delighted to see the young wing from North Carolina having more opportunities, Little’s sliding into the starting lineup left the Trail Blazers without a reliable back-up wing.
Nas has shown signs that he may soon be the 3-and-D more than Portland expected in third place, but so far he’s been a bit of a disappointment as a starter. He started eight games in the 2021-2022 NBA season, in which he averaged 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field and just 27 from deep, according to statmuse. .
Comparatively, in games where he came off the bench as an energizer, Little had 8.2 points and 5.4 boards while hitting 46% of his attempts, including 31% of his deep catches.
Despite rising in a matter of minutes, Little apparently regressed during the opener along with the other starters. While I’m certainly not ready to give up on Nas as a full-time starter, it’s clear the Trail Blazers need at least one reliable option to get out of the pine behind him. Having Little as the only small forward on the roster doesn’t do him a favor – and it sure doesn’t help the team either.
Here are three underrated wings the Trail Blazers should swap out to boost their depth in forward positions: