Portland Trail Blazers Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

We preview the Portland Trailblazers and the impact their players will have on the 2016-2017 fantasy basketball season.

After what was perhaps one of the most surprising seasons last year, Portland looks to the 2016-17 season to make their final push into becoming title contenders. The rise of Damian Lillard, the reigning Most Improved Player CJ McCollum, and some nice free agent additions are going to make the Trailblazers a force.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs
Evan Turner Boston Celtics
Festus Ezeli Golden State Warriors
Shabazz Napier Orlando Magic
Gerald Henderson Philadelphia 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Damian Lillard
Shabazz Napier
C.J. McCollum
Allen Crabbe
Pat Connaughton
Maurice Harkless
Evan Turner
Luis Montero
Al-Farouq Aminu
Meyers Leonard
Ed Davis
Noah Vonleh
Mason Plumlee
Festus Ezeli

Rotation Player Projections

PG Damian Lillard 31 35 24.4 3.9 6.6 0.9 0.4 3 41.9 89.2 3.1
SG C.J. McCollum 27.2 34 20.3 3.1 4.2 1.2 0.3 2.4 44.8 82.7 2.4
PF Al-Farouq Aminu 17 27 9.7 5.8 1.6 0.9 0.6 1.4 41.6 73.7 1.4
SF Evan Turner 18.8 24 9 4.2 3.8 0.9 0.3 0.2 45.6 82.7 1.8
C Mason Plumlee 17 22 7.9 6.7 2.4 0.7 0.9 0 51.6 64.2 1.6
SG Allen Crabbe 16.5 22 8.7 2.3 1 0.7 0.2 1.2 45.9 86.7 0.7
C Festus Ezeli 18.1 20 8.4 6.7 0.8 0.5 1.3 0 54.8 53 1
SF Maurice Harkless 15.6 18 6.2 3.5 0.9 0.6 0.4 0.5 47.4 62.2 0.8
PF Meyers Leonard 17.5 18 6.9 4.2 1.2 0.1 0.2 1.2 44.8 76.1 1.1
PF Ed Davis 12.6 12 3.8 4.3 0.6 0.4 0.5 0 61.1 55.9 0.5
PG Shabazz Napier 19.7 8 2.7 0.7 1.3 0.3 0 0.4 33.8 73.3 0.6

Position Battles

Starting Center: Festus Ezeli and Mason Plumlee

Portland signed ex-Warrior Festus Ezeli in the off season after signing ex-Net Mason Plumlee last year. The two of them remain the top big men on the team offering an interesting battle for the starting spot. Plumlee started all 82 games for the Blazers last year and averaged about 9.1points, 7.7 rebounds, and a block per game. Not a dominate center by any means, but productive for 25 minutes a game. Ezeli comes over from Golden State averaging 7 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, but for slightly less playtime at 16.7 minutes per game. All of this is nice until we remember Ezeli went down in July with a leg knee injury. Plumlee would be the smart player to take in the draft, but watch for Ezeli to possibly make a late impact on Portland and your fantasy roster after he returns from his injury. 

Starting Small Forward: Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner

The addition of one of the NBA's great role-players is a huge improvement for Portland. Turner's defensive skill set introduces a reliable piece for the Blazers, and they're going to rely on him averaging 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists and a steal to go with it on a nightly basis. Maurice Harkless, on the other hand, came into Portland last year and played less than 20 minutes a game averaging only 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds. Unless Harkless steps up, which seems unlikely, the starting spot should be for Turners taking. Turner will be a nice addition to the Trailblazer roster and to your Fantasy team.

Decrease in Value

Ed Davis

He didn't start a single game last year, he has never averaged above 10 points a game, and his career high average in rebounds per game is only 7.6. This all makes sense when you see Davis has only averaged 21.3 minutes per game his whole career and has played less and less every year since 2011. That is no excuse though, Davis might be a decent waiver wire pick but should be avoided in the draft at all costs.

Injury Risks

Festus Ezeli

The addition of a world champion is always a great way to bring a history of winning experience to another franchise. Portland did just that after adding Ezeli to their roster. However, they failed to see the oncoming iceberg of Ezeli's left knee injection in July. Ezeli is currently listed as out for 6 weeks and should be taken with caution in your fantasy league.

Other Player Summaries

Ed Davis

When is the last time any person has ever said “Man I'm glad Ed Davis got me all those rebounds last night” or “I thought I lost the week, then Ed Davis got 5 blocks in a game and won the final category for me!”. Never, because friends don't let friends draft Ed Davis.

CJ McCollum

McCollum showed us something special last year by making a huge leap to averaging over 20 points per game for 35 minutes a night. His improvement likely won't stop here, his impressive performance in the playoffs of 20.5 points for 40 minutes a game shows hes ready to become one of the top Shooting Guards in the league.

Evan Turner

His new position in Portland offers him a new chance to be a great role playing defender in a new city. As a great all round player, he is a great all round addition for your points, steals, rebounding, and assist categories. He may not be in your top 3 best players, he is a fantastic player off the bench for your fantasy team.

Al-Farouq Aminu

I drafted Aminu in my league last year and found him to be wildly inconsistent, one of my worst picks. Portland's heavy small ball puts Aminu in an awkward spot as they can't utilize him for all of the 28 minutes he plays a night. This is all true even after he had his best season ever in points, minutes per game, and assists. He's a false hope and shouldn't be drafted with sky high hopes.

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