Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

Dwight Jaynes
NBC Sports Northwest

The Trail Blazers signed a replacement player for Trevor Ariza Monday -- point guard Jaylen Adams -- and a whole lot of Portland fans seem upset about it.

Ariza, who opted out of going to Orlando for the NBA's resumption of the season, is a small forward. Why a point guard? Who will play small forward? And what about bringing former Trail Blazers such as Allen Crabbe or Evan Turner back to fill that spot? Or what about signing some of the "name" players who are out there?

Well, I think I can help you with some answers here, based on logic and the experience of being around this franchise for a few days.

Let me make some points and you can pick out what you need. First, the small forward position:

  • The idea of Crabbe or Turner is a non-starter. Turner is still on Minnesota's roster. He played in only 19 games this season and just one after Jan. 1.

  • Crabbe played in 37 games this season and started just once. He had a miserable season. And he's one of those players who seems to need the ball a lot, which isn't going to happen here.

  • Those "name" players people are talking about? The likes of Iman Shumpert and Gerald Green? Shumpert isn't good enough to help and Green is hurt.

  • Veteran players who finished last season without a team would be going to Orlando in search of long-term employment -- a chance to showcase for a deal next season. That means they're going to want playing time and if they don't get it, that will be a problem.

  • There has never been a time I can remember where team chemistry and togetherness will be tested like it will be in Orlando. Players will have very little freedom of movement and contact with family or friends. Their stress level is likely to be off the charts. Adding players with excess baggage is not something a lot of teams will be willing to do. Not sure the Trail Blazers -- or many of the other teams in Orlando -- want to take chances with players who might be a disruption.

  • If this team gets eliminated quickly in the seeding games, which is a possibility, don't be surprised if the team's core players see their minutes cut down so that the coaches and front office can see the others play. They certainly wouldn't be interested in watching over-the-hill vets looking for a contract from another team.

  • There has been an open transaction window since June 23 and if a veteran player hasn't been signed by now, odds are he's not valued by any of the 22 teams.

And now for Adams and the reasons for signing him:

  • Again, if the Trail Blazers can't hang in the race for the final playoff berth, I would expect Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum's minutes to be drastically cut -- or see them even shut down. Why risk injury if the team is out of the running? If that's the case, help is needed at point guard.

  • I don't expect Anfernee Simons to play 48 minutes in the absence of Dame and CJ, so Adams would be there to back up.

  • There is nothing wrong with getting an early look at one of the G-League's best players prior to next season.

  • Adams will also help lighten the load for the starters during the three-week camp leading up to the seeding games.

And so, who do I expect to see playing small forward, with Ariza absent?:

  • Depending on matchups, I would expect Carmelo Anthony to get those minutes, alongside Zach Collins and either Jusuf Nurkic or Hassan Whiteside. I would also expect Gary Trent to get time at small forward, where he has spent time previously this season.

  • The league seems to grow more positionless each season and all sorts of big and small lineups are possible with what this team has on its roster.

  • Terry Stotts likes to stick with a tidy rotation in the postseason -- eight players, if possible. I think those eight would obviously include Lillard, McCollum, Collins, Nurkic, Whiteside, Anthony, Trent and Simons -- with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja used for specific matchups. There is not much room there for additions unless somebody else opts out.

Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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