Review: New additions to Portland Trail Blazers


Cate Bikales

It’s time to see who the new faces in Rose City are and what they will bring to the Trail Blazers.

The window for the Portland Trail Blazers championship is closing. Damian Lillard has limited years left in his prime, and the team’s other stars aren’t getting younger. This off-season, however, has brought new faces to Rose City, and with over half of the season played, it’s time to look at what the team’s new assets have brought.

Robert Covington was traded to the Blazers from the Houston Rockets on Nov. 22. He brings defensive skills and three-point shooting, both of which the team needs. This season, he’s sixth in steals and 13th in blocks across all NBA teams. He’s also shooting 38% from the three-point line. After a shaky start, he has turned into a key asset on offense and defense, despite the team still struggling to defend. 

In free agency, 23-year-old Derrick Jones Jr. signed a two-year deal with the Blazers. His key abilities are cutting to the basket and defense, which he has improved. However, 45% of his shots this season are threes, even when his career three-point average is only 30%. With his improved defense and okay offense though, he still is a good addition for the team.

Enes Kanter returned to the Blazers after one year with the Boston Celtics. One of his strengths is his ability to get offensive rebounds and score off of them. This year, he’s averaged 12 rebounds (four offensive) and 12 points. His defense, though, has always been a negative aspect. The defensive scheme he’s put into– drop coverage– is a reason why. In drop coverage, big men stay under the basket, and Kanter is one of the worst interior-defending bigs in the league. In other schemes like zone though, he’s looked decent. In zone, players are given an area to defend, and this allows for double-teams, which Kanter has been solid at. Overall, he’s been a decent addition to the team.

Keljin Blevins, Lilllard’s cousin, was signed on a two-way deal during free agency. When on the floor, he’s been unproductive and only really seems to bring good chemistry. This, however, doesn’t negate the fact he isn’t NBA ready, which makes him a poor addition to the team. 

CJ Elleby was a sophomore at Washington State University drafted to the Blazers as the 46th pick. Initially, this wasn’t seen as a good choice because of poor play in his first few games. However, against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Blazers were without many rotation players– including CJ McCollum and Lillard– yet won 121-105, with Elleby dropping 15 points and seven rebounds. This showed he can produce at the NBA level, making him a decent addition.