How Can the Portland Trail Blazers Level Up for the 2024/2025 NBA Season?

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After a season to forget for the Trail Blazers, who finished bottom of the Western Conference, the look ahead to next season has begun in earnest. Portland’s finest ended the campaign with a 21-61 record with a .256 percentage and the season felt like it was over before it had really started.

That means all the pressure is on the shoulders of Head Coach Chauncey Billups, and the biggest off-season discussion will be around his tenure at the franchise. But do the Trail Blazers need more than just a change at the top?

The Trail Blazers will likely be lining up at long pre-season odds to reach the 2024-25 playoffs at Klarna betting sites in NBA Futures. What do they need to do to level up and at least get themselves competitive for next season?

One More Year for Billups?

Will the Trail Blazers give Head Coach Chauncey Billups the final year of his contract at the franchise? It is such a gray area of things at the moment because a lot of the backroom staff has already gone, including GM Joe Cronin and assistant coach Rodney Billups, Chauncey’s brother.

Chauncy Billups has a tough offseason of work. (Screenshot from Portland Trail Blazers Video)

It seems as good of a time as any to cut the ties with Billings, despite his popular presence around the franchise. It’s not gone to plan and since his arrival, Portland have gone 81-165 – not exactly inspiring figures.

With the rest of the staff gone, a full clean-out may happen. Billups would likely be snapped up with other franchises in the market for a Head Coach, which would throw the door open for a replacement and a change of direction in Portland.

A new voice could come in the form of Jordi Fernandez, who could be a great fit for the franchise. The emphasis has to be on the further development of their brightest, younger talents, especially with another big draft coming up in June. Kenny Atkinson, Sam Cassell and Miami Heat Assistant Coach Chris Quinn could all make interesting candidates.

Sterner Bargaining in Player Trades

Considering the status quo for the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the 2023-24 season, a run at the playoffs was more hopeful thinking than embedded in any realism. The trading of Damian Lillard left a big hole in their ranks as he went to Milwaukee.

Toumani Camara has a high upside for Portland. (Screenshot from Blazers Uprise Video)

But did the Trail Blazers really get what they needed from that deal? In hindsight no. Toumani Camara was really only a notable asset performance-wise after arriving from Phoenix. Other parts of the trade failed to ignite a fire under the team.

It feels like they could have got a lot more in what is a project for the future and here the Blazers need to get tougher and smarter.

Youth Development

Arguably, an area where Billups has done a good job for the franchise is in the development of young players. That is exactly what is still needed in Portland heading into the 2024-25 season- a continuation of that development.

Scoot Henderson had something of a tough rookie season, but there was so much pressure and hype put on him by former GM Cronin in particular, it had a sense of going south. There’s still a decent ceiling there, but Henderson doesn’t look like a superstar that would have balanced out that Lillard trade after being drafted third.

Much of the Trail Blazers’ future is also on the shoulders of Shaedon Sharpe, but again, we aren’t talking superstardom high. A franchise player, easily and he has already shown fantastic glimpses of that. But can Sharpe be a player that carries the team on his shoulders towards the playoffs? No.

Shaedon Sharpe is a rising star for the Blazers. (Screenshot from Portland Trail Blazers Video)

Find a Superstar

All that circles back around to trade. The Trail Blazers need superstar power to guide their younger setup and rebuild. They have two first-round draft picks (No. 7 and No. 14) to potentially make something happen.

There are some big free agents around including Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Andre Drummond, LeBron James and James Harden. A short-term fix isn’t really what the Blazers need though and are better off keeping their hands out of the big free-agent pot.

Get Healthy

Injuries played a big downfall in Portland for the previous campaign. They didn’t have much luck on that front. But that should be a wake-up call that better depth is needed at the franchise as well.

The Trail Blazers just have to hope that things go a little bit better for them this season. But most of all they need a backroom staff that fits the bigger, long-term picture of the rebuild, people who can help push the ceilings of the crop of young players that they have, just that little bit higher.

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Top Screenshot from ESPN Video

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