Four Trail Blazers' Careers Begin (Or Restart) In Earnest
After delivering few public comments since exiting the playoffs with a first-round playoff loss to the Lakers in the Orlando bubble, the Trail Blazers introduced (or in one instance, re-introduced) four players acquired through trades and free agency in a week of deals that dramatically altered the roster.
By trading for forward Robert Covington and center Enes Kanter and signing forward Derrick Jones Jr. and forward/center Harry Giles, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey shored up numerous deficiencies, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, without sacrificing up much of anything. It’s one of the reasons why the Trail Blazers have been considering by many to be one of the winners of the NBA’s drastically-shortened offseason.
Here’s what the four newest Trail Blazers had to say...
"I’m not... the guy that go out and score 30, 40 points a night. I’m the guy that’s supposed to stop the other people from getting 30 to 40, so I’ve been tasked with that... My coach in Philly gave me that task and that challenge and I worked at it and I’ve done everything I need to do, but I never get satisfied with what I’m doing. As long as I continue to make the job as hard as possible, that’s what my main thing is. What I’m bringing here is that tough tenaciousness and everything in between."
DERRICK JONES JR.
"Defense wins games. I know a lot of people love to score and that’s part of the game, you’re going to score. But whoever can get the most stops, you stop the other team from scoring. And as long as you scoring still, you good. I don’t know, I just love defense. It just makes me happen when my teammates get a steal, a block, anything. I’m a player, I dive on the floor for the ball, whatever I need to do to get it, I’m gonna do it."
"I feel like if two years ago, if we didn’t lose Nurk, we could have won championship. Nurk brings so much to the table that I always said to people around me ‘I see him as an All-Star.’ I think this year he has a really good chance to make All-Star. So I think this year now we got him, now we got all the offseason signings, all the spare people, I think we have a very special, talented team. But we just gonna go out there, play as one. I think there’s not one selfish guy in this team, we love share the ball. So we just gonna go out there and do what we do man, just play hard and have fun. Obviously we know that we’re not going to win 82 in a row, but we gonna go out there and compete like we are going to win 82 in a row."
HARRY GILES III
"It’s a great organization, top of the line. I’ve heard so many great things from Portland. Being in Sacramento -- Sacramento and Portland kind of had a thing. I was talking to somebody yesterday, just trades, a lot of Sacramento to Portland kind of exchanges in the last year or two. I always heard great things, too. Technically this is the place I was drafted to on draft night, so I guess I’m home, back home. I’m just excited to be here man... So many guys I can learn from, the coaches, it’s a great thing. Seeing the guys play in the bubble too, it was motivating. It was great to see how they played together and how even the bench, everybody was just all in one. I stayed in the same hotel as Portland in the bubble too, saw how they were gathering up all the time, eating and stuff as a team, little stuff like that. It’s just cool to know you’re going to a place like that when you got to see it with your own eyes from another perspective. I’m here and I’m happy."