Blazers’ Terry Stotts makes big lineup decision after return of Damian Lillard, Norman Powell trade
With Damian Lillard returning from an injury that had him briefly sidelined and the acquisition of Norman Powell at the trade deadline, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is faced with an overflow of options to roll out with his starting lineup for the remainder of the season.
Add on that CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic both returned fairly recently from long absences as both dealt with injuries, and the Blazers are getting healthy at the right time.
The addition of Powell will bring him into the starting lineup. He started his first game in a Blazers uniform as well but now with Lillard back, there was going to be an odd man out. We now know who that is.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 28, 2021
This is going to be a hell of a starting five for Portland. While the Lakers and Clippers will continue to get all the attention, don’t sleep on the Blazers as a dark horse to win the West.
Lillard, McCollum, Powell, Covington and Nurkic is quite the starting unit. Considering the depth on the bench with Jones Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Enes Kanter and Anfernee Simons, and the Blazers are poised and ready to make some noise in the playoffs.
In his first game with the Blazers on Friday, Powell finished with 22 points on 7-13 shooting. The move for Jones Jr. to the bench shouldn’t diminish the role he has on this team as he will likely still see consistent, solid minutes every night.
For Portland, it’s a good problem to have. Too many options. Too many choices. The only question remaining is how it all works out for the Blazers in their pursuit of NBA greatness. The team which made the Western Conference Finals in 2019 wants to be able to get at least that far and, if nothing else, earn a chance to take the next step.