Unlike Booker, Kemba’s just not good enough. No, I don’t mean he’s not a good NBA player - Kemba is a borderline all-star level talent.
He’s averaged more than 20 ppg his last three seasons and made the Eastern Conference all-star team last year.
The problem is, Kemba isn’t good enough to be your best player. The Hornets drafted him as a building block in 2011 and have made the playoffs twice in those six years - exiting in the first round both times.
Kemba is a small guard who gets buckets. But in a league where you need a guard who’s freakishly athletic, or shoots like Steph Curry or plays defense and passes as well as Chris Paul, Kemba is none of those things.
The former UConn Huskie will be 28 in May. It’s time for him to go to another team and be a No. 2 or 3 option. Possibly even a sixth man. He’ll be able to spend the final years of his prime - maybe as a San Antonio Spur? - helping another star win a championship.
It’s not working. Whatever the Trailblazers have been trying to do for the last season and a half is not working.
They have arguably the best backcourt in the league (after the Warriors and Rockets of course) with C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard but they’re destined for another first round annihilation in the playoffs.
The problem is after that backcourt, they have NO ONE ELSE. And if you’re reading this yelling, “How dare you disrespect Jusuf Nurkic!!” you’d be talking about the Jusuf Nurkic who’s averaging 14.3 ppg which, quite frankly, is not good enough for a third option on a team trying to compete in a loaded Western Conference.
The C.J. vs Dame argument picked up steam last season as NBA media continue to discuss who’s the better player and who may be the better trade piece.
Obviously you can get more for Dame. He’s the bigger name and carries more star potential.
However, it’s clear Dame knows how important he is to the Trailblazers and doesn’t plan on changing that anytime soon.
In an interview with Chris Haynes and Marcus Spears on ESPN’s The Hoop Collective podcast, he told them he wanted to be like Tim Duncan with the Spurs and Dirk Nowitzki with the Mavs - he wants to be the best Trailblazer ever.
Also, Dame knows how much cache he has in the organization, meeting with team owner Paul Allen earlier this week in attempt to get the team in the right direction.
One way to do that? Trade C.J. The Blazer’s need an athletic wing who can defend and shoot or an athletic big man who can score.
One possibility may be shipping C.J. to the Cavs for that Brooklyn Nets pick. It would give the Cavs another skilled, and quite frankly taller, playmaker to pair with LeBron. The two teams would obviously have to add additional pieces to make the money work (and possibly add a third team as Isaiah Thomas would likely have to be in that deal to make it work and he makes no sense next to Dame) but it could be beneficial for both teams.
The Blazers could draft a guy in the first round like Villanova’s Mikal Bridges - a 6’7 wing with a 7’0 wingspan who can shoot and defend.
Even if it isn’t the Cavs, seeing C.J.- who currently averages 21.5 ppg - on a championship team would be much more entertaining than watching him get bounced in the first round. Again.