Many Portland Trail Blazers rumors surrounded the team during the NBA offseason, with fans of the team paying very close attention to Carmelo Anthony trade discussions. A number of debates and arguments took place among fans on social media, some feeling that Anthony could get the team deeper in the postseason and others feeling that he wasn’t what the team needed. Anthony ended up getting traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As the 2017-18 NBA season draws closer, the conversation among fans, now, is whether the current Blazers roster is better or worse than it was last year.

There were a number of subtractions from the roster, including a deal that sent Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets. That trade was made to save money, as the Blazers were primed to pay a hefty luxury tax penalty. It’s possible, though, that the team will have a difficult time replacing the offense that Crabbe provided.

Who replaces Crabbe and his offense?

Allen Crabbe averaged 10.7 points and 28.5 minutes per game last season. It is assumed that some combination of Pat Connaughton and Shabazz Napier will be used to cover those minutes. Evan Turner, Moe Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu will all likely see a bump in minutes as well. Blazers coach Terry Stotts will have to spread out the playing time with players still on the roster.

The biggest loss is that Crabbe was so adept at three-point shooting and it’s unclear how the team will overcome not having that weapon on offense.

In a best-case scenario, Pat Connaughton emerges as a player ready to take over the role that Allen Crabbe had with the team. If he can impress the Blazers coaches during the preseason, he could see heavy minutes when the regular season tips off.

The role is made a bit more difficult to fill due to how much Crabbe’s teammates liked him and how much the fans had supported him. Any struggles and there will immediately be Portland Trail Blazers rumors about the team seeking a change through a midseason trade.

Blazers preseason games

The Blazers beat the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night (Oct.

5) in their second preseason game. In the 106-101 victory, Connaughton played 20 minutes, finishing with 10 points and going 3-of-6 from the field. He was also 2-of-4 on three-pointers. That’s not a bad night for him and it gives hope that he could provide the same boost off the bench that Allen Crabbe had for the last few seasons. The Blazers will need him to sustain it for the entire 2017-18 NBA season if the playoffs are going to yield better results.

The Blazers are now 1-1 during the NBA preseason, losing to the Phoenix Suns (114-112) back on Oct. 3 to tip things off. Damian Lillard led the team with 18 points and four assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Lillard then had 16 points and eight assists against the Raptors.

Rookie center Zach Collins has averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds over the two games, showing that he too might be a great weapon off the bench. He could be a key acquisition of this offseason.

The Portland Trail Blazers will play the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday (Oct. 7) in their third preseason game.