Norman Powell heads to Oregon.
The Portland Trail Blazers were in the mix for Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and struck a deal to acquire Powell in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. The deal was first reported by ESPN.
Powell is a tenacious scorer who gives the Blazers another option in the backcourt alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Powell is in the middle of a career year, averaging 19.6 points on the season, shooting 49.8% from the field and 43.9% from deep.
Now that the Blazers have a new face, how are people feeling about the acquisition? Let’s take a look at how the media across the country is rating the deal:
Sam quinn CBS Sports believes the Blazers probably should have gone another route and added someone on the defensive end.
Trail Blazers Commercial Grade: C +
In terms of talent, this is perhaps a small improvement. Scorers as good as Powell almost never available on the deadline. For certain teams, that offensive advantage would be incredibly valuable. It’s just not clear that Portland is one of them. His offense currently ranks sixth in the NBAbut that doesn’t give you adequate credit. The Blazers have achieved that ranking despite a string of injuries, and in the context of NBA history, this season has leaned so much toward offense in the league that their No. 6 ranking would give them the seventh most efficient offense. in NBA history. Firepower was not what this team needed.
However, a defensive upgrade would have been nice. Portland ranks 29th at that end of the court and has struggled for years in part because of its small backcourt stature. Powell is just 6-4. It doesn’t help on that front, and while it’s not a defensive issue, it’s a demotion from Trent. The 29th defense in the NBA shouldn’t be making deadline deals that hurt her defense.
The truth is, this deal was probably made in part because of information that we don’t have access to. The Blazers have an idea of what Trent was going to cost this offseason because they had him in the building. For some reason, they have apparently determined that they would rather pay Powell what he asks than Trent what he asks. That’s a choice that would make sense for some teams. On paper, this is not the case for Portland. Any slight improvement in talent doesn’t make up for the questionable fit here.
Charles Curtis of USA Today’s For The Win believes the Blazers should have continued to travel with Trent Jr .:
Commercial grade: B-
Here’s the thing: I understand that Powell is really good. He is averaging 19.6 percentage points, his career high, and has hit 43.9 percent from distance this season. That’s huge for a team that might be looking for a postseason upset.
With that said, and I’ll talk more about this below, they had Gary Trent Jr.! It has reached 39.7 from the deep! He’s younger than Powell! I guess I felt like the Blazers could have stuck with him and he would have flourished even more, and he’s a restricted free agent this offseason, which could complicate things, but I also have the idea that Portland thinks he can win now. Still, is it worth the upgrade? We’ll find out.
Sports Illustrated Rohan nadkarni believes the move brings the Blazers a little closer to an NBA Finals run:
Commercial grade: B
It took me a while to see the vision for this movement, and I find it pretty solid, nothing more, nothing less. Powell and Trent are very capable players. Powell has a bit more variation in his offensive game, although he can be a little less effective defensively. That variation will be used, because Powell will get a lot of open stares and minor defenders thanks to all the attention commanded by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Although he would have preferred Trent’s small size advantage on the wing, Powell is still capable at that end of the court, and will have to protect some of the explosive wings in conference.
Powell is expected to turn down his player option and become a free agent this summer, which means the Blazers will have to do everything they can to keep him close. Perhaps Portland expects the offer to be fiercer for Trent Jr., but if they end up making the same amount of money, or if Powell somehow gets more, wouldn’t the Blazers have preferred the younger guy? And while Hood has struggled this season and hasn’t necessarily been a game changer in his career, he made a playoff game for the Blazers two years ago. That means Portland’s depth takes a little hit here too. Portland is likely to get a little closer to the Finals race with this move. How much closer PDX comes at the cost of trading a 22-year-old whose free agency will be restricted is where I doubt a bit.
SB Nation Ricky O’Donnell gave the move a high rating:
Commercial Grade: A-
Powell is in the middle of his career season and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The 27-year-old point guard is averaging 19.6 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from 3-point range this year. Portland has always been looking for another dynamic perimeter pitcher alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and Powell can be that.
It’s a huge blow to lose Trent, who will be an unrestricted free agent next season and has become a good player since his red-hot streak in the bubble. Still, Trent didn’t fit as well alongside the two Blazers stars on the backcourt, and Powell offers more immediate help for this year.
And Bleacher Report’s Dan favale not very impressed by the trade:
Commercial Grade: C
Someone else might need to explain the Blazers’ logic. This movement feels unnecessarily lateral in a vacuum.
Gary Trent Jr. has cooled off from the court in recent weeks, but that drop will normalize. The Blazers may be nervous about their (restricted) free agency, but they can’t feel much better about Norman Powell’s next price (player option). Both players will be paid.
This is not to say that choosing Powell over Trent is ridiculous. He’s a little shorter but has more length to build on the defensive side and will score from more levels. Trent has shown dynamism from the dribble, but he doesn’t reach the rim enough to arm himself.
Powell is also one year old. He is averaging 19.6 points while canning 55.2 percent of his two and 43.9 percent of his three, including 41.0 percent of his pull-up triples. Zach LaVine is the only other player to match his scoring average and split shots. Portland can feel better about Powell impacting a playoff series as a complementary floor spacer and a creator from scratch.
– Aron Yohannes