By ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports activities Author
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Within the loaded Western Convention the place the Warriors rule, middle Jusuf Nurkic instructed the Portland Path Blazers might be the Dangerous Boys.
Consider the Detroit Pistons of days previous.
“All we will do is put all we will collectively and be Dangerous Boys,” the 7-footer often known as the Bosnian Beast stated. “I imply, we’re Dangerous Boys. Once you come to Portland you realize you’re not going to have wins straightforward.”
Nurkic got here to the Blazers in a commerce final February and shortly developed chemistry together with his teammates. He averaged 15.2 factors, 10.four rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20 video games with the Blazers, who have been 14-5 with him within the beginning lineup.
His season was reduce brief by a non-displaced proper leg fibular fracture. Now absolutely healed, Nurkic is once more embracing his position with the Blazers. He dropped 34 kilos this summer time in an effort to be faster and extra agile.
Portland completed final season at forty one-forty one earlier than being eradicated by Golden State within the opening spherical of the playoffs. However a late-season surge after Nurkic’s arrival was encouraging.
Portland didn’t make lots of modifications within the offseason. The workforce stays anchored by the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McColllum. Lillard completed final season with a profession-greatest common of 27 factors per recreation, together with four.eight rebounds and 5.9 assists. McCollum completed the season with a profession-greatest 23 factors per recreation.
Nurkic believes the important thing to the Blazers’ success this season is protection.
“Our protection was trash, to be trustworthy, earlier than,” he stated. “We’re going to be higher. Once I got here it was higher and we’re going to maintain enhancing that. It’s easy: If you wish to win, you should play protection.”
And he’s right, final season Portland struggled at occasions defensively. Though the D improved after Nurkic arrived, the Blazers completed twenty fifth within the league for common factors allowed.
Listed here are another issues to observe for with the Blazers:
PEAK PORTLAND: Lillard revealed that he’s making an attempt out a vegan weight loss plan, an effort that’s acquired him right down to about one hundred ninety kilos — near his rookie weight. The thought — very similar to it was with Nurkic’s weight reduction — is to be a bit lighter on his ft.
There’s only one drawback. Wendy’s. Oh, and 5 Guys. Lillard passes each of them on his approach house. However the advantages outweighed the drawbacks, he stated.
“Not solely did I really feel lighter shifting across the courtroom, however once I acquired winded and I acquired drained, it wasn’t the identical….