CJ Elleby’s offensive struggles cloud future: Trail Blazers season review, look ahead



The Oregonian/OregonLive takes a player-by-player look at the Portland Trail Blazers roster before the offseason.

Other messages: Drew Eubanks; Elijah Hughes; Keljin Blevins; DiDi Louzada; Joe Ingles; Eric Bledsoe; Reggie Perry; Kris Dun.

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Today: CJ Elleby, 21, 6-6, small forward/keeper.

Contract status: Elleby earned $1.5 million last season and will become a restricted free agent. The Blazers own his Early Bird rights so they can sign him without using cap space up to 105% of the NBA‘s average salary, which last season was around $8.25 million. Such an agreement should last two to four years.

Return probability: Hard to say. It could depend on his salary expectations.

Contributions 2021-22: Elleby appeared in 58 games with 28 starts and averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He shot 39.3% from the field and 29.4% from three.

Strengths weaknesses: Elleby had a golden opportunity to showcase her abilities in the last two months of the season when her minutes went from less than 20 per game to almost 30 due to injuries suffered by other players. But he failed to take advantage of it on the attacking side. He only shot 33.3% in February and 38.9% in March. During a four-game streak starting in late March, Elleby went 13 of 40 from the field. His mediocre offensive production led to a 102.6 offensive rating.

Defensively, Elleby possesses size and length, and has always seemed to push hard. But he finished the season with a defensive rating of 116.9. To be fair, he had to play out of position at the front at times and the whole team struggled defensively.

Outlook 2022-23: The Blazers probably won’t have to spend too much to keep Elleby. As an effort guy at the end of the bench, Elleby has value. Moreover, it continues to improve and mature. Under no circumstances would Elleby make her way into the regular rotation next season. The Blazers will likely roll with Josh Hart and Nassir Little at small forward and could also be looking for another proven wing.

But that doesn’t mean the Blazers won’t keep Elleby in hopes of continuing her development.

— Aaron Fentress | [email protected] | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).

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