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Nassir Little (ankle) to miss Blazers’ final two preseason games

Blazers, Nassir Little

Portland Trail Blazers rookie forward Nassir Little will miss each of the team’s final two preseason games with an ankle injury, according to Trail Blazers beat reporter Casey Holdahl:

Little suffered the injury after landing awkwardly following a layup attempt during Thursday’s exhibition against Maccabi Haifa. The official diagnosis was that Little had suffered a sprained left ankle.

With Opening Night just one week away, the Trail Blazers will exercise caution with their top draft pick.

Portland selected Little with the 25th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Little had been projected by most outlets to land somewhere inside or just outside of the lottery, but the Trail Blazers were able to nab Little when he fell to the end of the first round.

The reason for Little’s fall is a relative unknown, although it likely resided from the fact that he averaged just over 18 minutes per game in his freshman season at the University of North Carolina.

Little was regarded as a potential top-five talent last fall, but Roy Williams’ philosophy of mitigating playing time for freshman often limited Little’s opportunities to make a tangible impact.

Still, the Orange Park, FL native was considered to be one of the most athletic players in the draft. Little showcased just how dominant he could be when he scored 20 points and added seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of run during UNC’s second-round victory over Washington in the NCAA Tournament.

The Trail Blazers will need Little to refine his perimeter game throughout the season if he hopes to earn steady playing time in the rotation.

 

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