PORTLAND — In the loaded Western Conference area the Warriors rule, centermost Jusuf Nurkic appropriate the Portland Trail Blazers can be the Bad Boys.
Think of the Detroit Pistons of canicule past.
“All we can do is put all we can calm and be Bad Boys,” the 7-footer accepted as the Bosnian Beast said. “I mean, we are Bad Boys. Back you appear to Portland you apperceive you’re not activity to accept wins easy.”
Nurkic came to the Blazers in a barter aftermost February and bound developed allure with his teammates. He averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20 amateur with the Blazers, who were 14-5 with him in the starting lineup.
His division was cut abbreviate by a non-displaced appropriate leg fibular fracture. Now absolutely healed, Nurkic is afresh all-embracing his role with the Blazers. He alone 34 pounds this summer in an accomplishment to be quicker and added agile.
Portland accomplished aftermost division at 41-41 afore actuality alone by Golden State in the aperture annular of the playoffs. But a late-season billow afterwards Nurkic’s accession was encouraging.
Portland didn’t accomplish a lot of changes in the offseason. The aggregation charcoal anchored by the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McColllum. Lillard accomplished aftermost division with a career-best boilerplate of 27 credibility per game, forth with 4.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists. McCollum accomplished the division with a career-best 23 credibility per game.
Nurkic believes the key to the Blazers’ success this division is defense.
“Our aegis was trash, to be honest, before,” he said. “We’re activity to be better. Back I came it was bigger and we’re activity to accumulate convalescent that. It’s simple: If you appetite to win, you charge to comedy defense.”
And he’s correct, aftermost division Portland struggled at times defensively. Although the D bigger afterwards Nurkic arrived, the Blazers accomplished 25th in the alliance for boilerplate credibility allowed.
Here are some added things to watch for with the Blazers:
PEAK PORTLAND: Lillard appear that he’s aggravating out a vegan diet, an accomplishment that’s got him bottomward to about 190 pounds — abutting to his amateur weight. The abstraction — abundant like it was with Nurkic’s weight accident — is to be a little lighter on his feet.
There’s aloof one problem. Wendy’s. Oh, and Five Guys. Lillard passes both of them on his way home. But the allowances outweighed the drawbacks, he said.
“Not alone did I feel lighter affective about the court, but back I got asthmatic and I got tired, it wasn’t the same. I acquainted stronger. I acquainted acceptable on the court. It ability accept its issues as far as accretion already we alpha absolutely accepting into the season, and I’ll abode that,” he said. “But it’s absolutely fabricated a difference.”
LOOKING AT LEONARD: Meyers Leonard knows he didn’t do able-bodied aftermost division so he rededicated himself to his ability over the summer, alive out in Los Angeles with admired NBA trainer Drew Hanlen. Nukic’s accession takes some of the burden off the 7-foot-1 Leonard as he enters his sixth division with the Blazers, but he still charge prove he’s a solid reserve.
“At the end of the day he’s activity to accept to do it on the court,” Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said. “Because at some point — it is still about development — but it’s about production. I anticipate Meyers knows that and his charge in the offseason has put him in a position area he’s accessible to compete.”
IMPRESSIVE ROOKIES: Both of Portland’s rookies accept been cartoon acclaim in the preseason. Portland acquired assiduously Zach Collins out of Gonzaga and Caleb Swanigan out of Purdue on abstract night.
Swanigan, the above Big Ten Player of the Year aftermost division as a sophomore, was called to the NBA Summer Alliance Aboriginal Aggregation afterwards averaging 14.9 credibility and 10.4 rebounds through the aboriginal seven games.
LEARNING CURVE: For two seasons in a row, the Blazers accept had second-half rallies that helped put them in the postseason. But drillmaster Terry Stotts acknowledges that conceivably Portland absent out on the assignment the aboriginal time. “I anticipate from my angle aftermost year is that we forgot how adamantine it is to do what we did in the additional bisected of the season,” he said.
JERSEY PATCH: This is the aboriginal division the alliance will acquiesce teams to affectation sponsor patches on the larboard accept of their uniforms. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers will affection a Goodyear logo on their uniforms. But the Blazers accept yet to bang an agreement. Aggregation President and CEO Chris McGowan said Portland was actual abutting to a accord but it fell through at the aftermost minute.
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fibula fracture – fibula fracture
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