What is Portland Trail Blazers Cliff Alexander’s Role on the Team?

Craig Mitchelldyer/ USA Today Sports

What is Portland Trail Blazers Cliff Alexander’s role on the team? Before we can answer that question we should figure out who he is.

Alexander was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Kansas where he averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 28 appearances. The former Jay Hawk was a five-star recruit coming out of Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago. Out of high school, Alexander was ranked higher than Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns and Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell, but a poor first season at Kansas lowered his stock.

In retrospect, he probably should have remained in Kansas for another year in order to one, polish his game, and two, showcase his skills to improve his draft value.

Having said that, let’s go back to out first question: what is Alexander’s role on the team?

Right now, his role is non-existent and he is buried in the depth chart. But that could change next season if the Blazers decide not to extend a qualifying offer to Meyers Leonard. Leonard will be eligible for a $4.2 million QO but will count for almost $8 million against the Blazers cap next season.

Leonard shows flashes of potential but his inconsistent play does not warrant a cap hit that high. If the Blazers allow him to walk and release a few other players, the organization will be able to free up enough cap space to sign a big player to a max deal.

So, this is where Alexander comes into play. He is undersized at 6’8’’ in the power forward position, but has huge hands and a large wing span to be a plus defender on the other side of the court. He is also very strong and brings a lot of energy to the team. His specialties are defense and rebounding. Alexander is also good at making second chance opportunities on offense which will allow star point guard Damian Lillard more opportunities to score.

Although Alexander is not offensively capable like Leonard, he is a strong dunker and can put the ball back up. He also has good shooting potential so if he develops a shot he could be a very good bench piece.

If he reaches his full potential, Alexander has the capability to be a Brandon Bass type player.

Instead of committing a significant amount of money to Leonard, it would be better for the organization to take a chance on Alexander.

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Daiki Sato

Daiki Sato a Southern California native and San Diego State Alumni. Loves all things sports. He covers the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Dodgers for Sports Out West.


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