Coach Terry Stotts tips his hand at an interesting Blazers lineup during scrimmages
We are all about to witness the dawn of the Portland Taril Blazers’ new defensive stalwart duo – Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside. No less than Blazers head coach Terry Stotts confirmed that the debut of this frontcourt pairing will finally come to fruition on Thursday’s scheduled scrimmage.
Stotts guaranteed that he intends to unleash the Nurkic-Whiteside duo when Portland take on the Indiana Pacers in their first scrimmage match in the bubble:
Terry Stotts says Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside will play together in tomorrow's scrimmage vs. the Pacers: "There's no question you'll see it." #RipCity
— Jay Allen (@PDXjay) July 22, 2020
Nurkic has been out of action throughout the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign thus far as he recovers from a major leg injury he suffered at the tail end of the 2018-19 season. The extended season hiatus has provided the 7-foot big man with more time to rehab, and as it appears, he is now close to, if not already 100 percent healthy at this point.
For his part, Whiteside has been a revelation for the Blazers this term. In his first season in Portland, the 31-year-old has averaged 16.3 points (on 61.8 percent shooting), 14.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 3.1 blocks per contest as the team’s starting center. There have been doubts as to how these two bigs will coexist once Nurkic makes his return. Coach Stotts has no problem playing both centers at the same time. But we’ll definitely see how it works out going forward.
For Portland superstar point guard Damian Lillard, he could not help but share his excitement about this highly-promising pairing. According to Lillard, the Blazers’ defense will be unbreachable once Nurkic and Whiteside take the floor at the same time.
— Jay Allen (@PDXjay) July 23, 2020
The Blazers are currently sitting at the ninth spot in the West, with three and a half games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Nevertheless, Portland still has a decent chance at securing a spot in the postseason. The type of impact the Nurkic and Whiteside, whether together or not, will have on the team as a whole will be crucial for their playoff hopes.