The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the most impressive teams of the 2013-2014 season and one of the biggest surprises. The Blazers emerged this season as title contenders and they steadily hold the third seed in the tough Western Conference. Nonetheless, the team has one major flaw in its game, defense. That’s why, as we get closer to the playoffs, the team should consider making the right moves to fix its weakness. Would a trade for Omer Asik help Portland drastically improve its defensive performance? Let’s break down.
Asik’s time in Houston is clearly over. The Rockets have been searching for a team to deal him to for months now. A few weeks into the season, it became obvious that Asik and Dwight Howard could not work together in sync. Nonetheless, up to this point, the Rockets haven’t found the right deal to agree on and ship the Turkish big man.
The Portland Trail Blazers on the other hand have a whole in the middle. Sure, Robin Lopez is not a great center but he serviceable. Nonetheless, the team doesn’t have solid backups and especially against teams with quality centers or strong penetrating wing players, the Blazers have some issues.
Omer Asik could greatly assist Portland address these defensive issues. He is a big body and he has been playing good defense throughout his career. Plus, he has some offense, too and he could be a nice fit alongside LaMarcus Aldridge. If the Blazers add Asik, they will instantly see an upgrade at their center spot. With Asik onboard, Robin Lopez would most probably be switched to the backup center position, adding depth and power to the team’s bench.
As previously reported, the Houston Rockets had such high demands to send away Asik that most teams just withdrew their interest. Nonetheless, now, 10 days prior to the trade deadline, Houston might have rethought of its demands for the 7-footer center. The Rockets will not be using Asik this season and they will not be able to rely on him during the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Blazers are looking to make those corrections and small adjustments that will further increase their chances for a successful course in the postseason. Adding a center like Asik would be a big step towards that direction.
Thankfully, the Blazers have some assets to offer for this trade to happen. Portland has some young players but also draft picks to offer to Houston and the Rockets would certainly be interested. All that’s now left to see is how much will the Blazers be willing to give away in order to acquire a player like Asik.
The certain fact is that if Portland wants to make it all the way to the top and beat teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs, they will have to improve their defense. The Blazers currently rank 27th in the NBA on defense and they will certainly stand little chances to win the title if they continue to perform like this on the defensive end of the floor.