Sports — 22 April 2013
The Blazers wrapped up their season on Wednesday night with a 99-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors.  Make that 13-straight losses to close the season, and a final record of 33-49.  Now that the season is over, all eyes will shift to Blazers General Manager, Neil Olshey as he makes preparations for a crucial off-season.
The Blazers currently sit 10th in the NBA’s draft order, and have a small possibility to move up on Draft Lottery night with a lot of luck, but it looks like Portland will get to keep their pick and it is likely to be at 10.  The team also has two picks in the second round.  With picks and salary cap space, the Blazers will have at least three draft picks and somewhere between 11-14 Million in Salary Cap Space.  That gives the franchise some flexibility to address their needs.
The Blazers have Four Priorities this off-season.  First, they need a rim protector.  The Blazers surrendered more points in the paint than anyone else in the NBA.  JJ Hickson had a great year, but he was playing out of position.  He doesn’t have the size to be a great defender.  Before the Blazers can return to the post-season, they need to improve defensively and that starts in the middle.
After Center, the Blazers are looking at some quality depth at both shooting guard and forward.  After defense, depth was the biggest issue for the team this season.  The Blazers had no scoring punch off the bench.  They would like to add a slashing-type forward who can score, and they are in need of another big-time shooting guard.
Finally, the Blazers need to find a backup point guard for the future.  The team acquired Eric Mayor before the deadline this season.  They would like to resign him if the price is right, or they could look elsewhere.  Those are the primary needs, but do the Blazers have enough resources to accomplish all of their needs in one off-season?
The Likely answer to that question is no, but with the emergence of Lillard and the remaining core, the Blazers should return to the playoffs next season after a two-year drought.


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