Nassir Little

Instant Analysis: Lillard doesn't get much help vs. Nets

Instant Analysis: Lillard doesn't get much help vs. Nets

The Trail Blazers started out the game looking like a team coming off a tough loss last night. On the other hand, the Brooklyn Nets looked well-rested after having the last two days in Portland to rest up and prepare for the Blazers. 

Portland got out to a slow start and really there was just one Blazer who got things cooking on Friday night. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: Nets 119, Blazers 115

Here are three quick takeaways from the Blazers loss:

1.  Portland experiments with lineups

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts decided to start Mario Hezonja at power forward in place of Anthony Tolliver. Stotts then experimented with different lineups. Eleven players saw the floor on Friday night.

Part of the reason for an 11-man rotation was the Blazers lost Rodney Hood to back spasms after Hood played in just the first six minutes of action.

With Hood’s injury and the offense struggles early on, Coach Stotts was clearly trying to figure out a lineup that would work against the Nets.

2. Nothing but Lillard

Moda Center fans were treated to a Damian Lillard takeover.

With CJ McCollum, Mario Hezonja, and the rest of the starting lineup struggling to finish at the rim or hit from deep, Lillard took it upon himself to get buckets. It was a night of Logo Lillard threes, acrobatic lay-ins, fadeaways, and everything in between for Lillard. 

It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that someone other than Lillard had double-digit points and that's the way it stayed. Hassan Whiteside scored on a putback to give him 10 points. In the end, Lillard's 60-points weren't enough. 

3. An NBA debut type of night

Nets rookie forward Nicolas Claxton saw his first NBA regular season minutes as did Blazers rookie forward Nassir Little.

Little showed off his length. He was very active on the defensive end, coming up with a big block on the perimeter and sacrificing his body to go to the floor while battling for a rebound.

The Blazer rookie proved that he is willing to do the dirty work and be that extra hustle type player. He got Blazers fans on their feet after driving to the hoop and throwing down a dunk that rocked the backboard.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night with tip-off slated for 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers podcast below:

The future is here: Blazers using 'Noah Shooting System'

The future is here: Blazers using 'Noah Shooting System'

The future is here.

The Portland Trail Blazers have some new technology at their practice facility.

This isn’t just any equipment.

The ‘Noah Basketball Shooting System’ was installed at the Blazers' practice facility in Tualatin last month.

So what does a Noah System do?

It is designed to help basketball players with their shooting.

The system tracks players’ shots to give players and coaches feedback. This particular system in Portland has facial recognition. Video cameras are placed above the baskets, while computers are mounted on the wall that compile data to analyze a player’s shot technique based off of Noah’s scientifically proven and ideal shot.

Trail Blazer veteran Anthony Tolliver has used the system for nearly two years now. He believes in it so much that he has become a Noah System Ambassador.

“Every single shot that goes up it takes a little recording of it, and it also tells you exactly where your shot is. So, it tells you your shots’ arc, your shot depth, and your shot – right-left. It just tells you all the analytics behind each and every shot,” Tolliver said.

Noah Basketball claims its systems will:

1. Build Muscle Memory for the Perfect Shot

2. Motivate & Hold Players Accountable for Workouts

3. Improve Shooting Percentages and Consistency

“Over time, if you’re able to read the data, and understand it, that it can really help you become a better shooter,” Tolliver said.

Tolliver “fell in love” with the system, and being able to analyze all of his data.

He even has gone as far to install one at his gym back home.

According to Tolliver, John Carter, the CEO and Founder of Noah Systems, was in Portland a couple weeks before training camp to talk with the Blazers organization about the system.

Tolliver joined Carter for an informal meeting about the new technology.  They did a demo, while Tolliver discussed how he uses it, and why he thought it’s beneficial.

“Maybe I helped them push it over the top,” Tolliver said with a chuckle.

“Absolutely” this is where the NBA is going, Tolliver said confidently.

“It’s something that every team is always looking for a little bit of an edge, right? And so, we have it, and I think over half the NBA teams already have it. The other half is probably going to say, ‘well, we need it to just to make sure we don’t fall behind the curve,’ but it’s really up to the players to use it and to analyze the data so that we can use it to get better, and that’s what it’s really all about,” Tolliver said.

There’s a Noah System app that players are able to download and use to track all their data or as Tolliver explains it, a player can simply turn the machine on with audio to get live feedback:

“When you’re in the gym, you can turn on the actual feedback and it gives you immediate feedback. So, if I shoot a shot right now, it’ll say, ‘44’ or if I want it to say ‘shot depth’ it might say, ‘6.’ So, there’s an optimal spot for each one. Forty-five is the optimal number for the arc.”

Eleven is the optimal number for shot dept.

Zero is the optimal number for the direction of right-left.

The numbers are really all about helping with a player’s consistency.

“You can hone in on it, if you’re a guy that misses right-left a lot, you can just kind of get in the gym, get a bunch of shots -- hundreds, and hundreds of shots, and you can actually hear it. Every single shot and it will tell you, ‘hey you’re shooting it to the left, obviously you can see it, but it helps you to kind of hone in on trying to hit that and it really helps you to develop the muscle memory to be able to do it,” Tolliver said. 

Tolliver doesn’t believe in having to hit Noah’s ‘optimal numbers.’

“It’s really about more consistency then it is just about really nailing your exact number. I mean if you shoot a consistent 42-43, and you’re making it no one is gonna change your shot, right? You don’t want to change that up. So, as long as you’re consistent it’s going to help you become a great shooter,” Tolliver said.

Trail Blazer All-Star point guard Damian Lillard enjoys using the Noah System to see how his shots differ depending on where he shoots on the court. 

“It’s pretty cool being able to track your shots and your arc, and consistency and stuff like that. I think it helps create that situation where you see where you actually don’t shoot the ball well from on the floor or where you’re most comfortable, where you gravitate towards and stuff like that,” Lillard said.

This system is even more helpful for the young Trail Blazers.

Blazers' rookie Nassir Little has been one of the players who has been utilizing it the most.

“I use it for my arc, transitioning into the league, you know, you’ve got to get [your shot] up a little bit. My shot was a little bit flat initially. While using the system it gives you immediate feedback on the arc,” Little said.

Little went onto say, “You can kind of correct it right away. You want it to be in the mid 40s. So, if you hear numbers like 41-40, you know to get the ball up a little bit higher, so you can make that correction right away.”

This isn’t the first time Little’s used the Noah System. They had one installed at North Carolina, but he admitted he didn’t use it much in college.

“It definitely is the future. It has face recognition, so even throughout practice, it tells us the shots that we take during practice. It was tracking our shots at Summer League. It’s definitely the future of basketball. It’s getting more analytical,” Little said.

Analytic and stats nerds can rejoice with this system, while players hope to rejoice with a better shot after using it.

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little still favoring his left ankle

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little still favoring his left ankle

With just two exhibition games reaming for the Portland Trail Blazers, their only rookie Nassir Little will not be gaining more preseason experience.

Little has not practiced since spraining his left ankle last Thursday against Maccabi Haifa.

The 19-year-old was working with the training staff after Tuesday’s practice, but it was clear Little’s ankle was not 100 percent.

After practice, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said, “If you were watching him, he’s still favoring his ankle. So, he won’t play in either game.”

[RELATED]: Trail Blazer rookie Nassir Little already "paying it forward" in the Portland community

Little had to leave the game against Maccabi Haifa late in the first quarter after he went up for a layup and was fouled on the attempt. He landed awkwardly and was seen on the court holding his left leg.

There is no timetable on his return.

Coach Stotts also said Tuesday that Wednesday’s game in Utah will be more like a dress rehearsal with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum playing their usual starting minutes.  

Why Nassir Little's injury was a significant missed opportunity

Why Nassir Little's injury was a significant missed opportunity

The Trail Blazers' second game of the preseason was supposed to be an opportunity for young players and the back half of the roster to play extended minutes.

Instead it turned into just a brief cameo for rookie Nassir Little.

With Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Hassan Whiteside getting the night off, Terry Stotts had hoped to give the rookie forward at least 20 minutes against visiting Maccabi Haifa. But Little’s night lasted just three minutes after he sprained his left ankle early in his first shift and had to leave the game for good during the second quarter.

Little got into the paint and rose up for a layup drawing a foul as he landed awkwardly on his left leg. He stayed in the game to attempt both free throws, but the Blazers committed an intentional foul to get their first round pick out of the game. Little walked straight back to the locker room and didn’t return.

Afterwards he didn’t sound concerned, calling his ankle “a little sore but nothing major.”

“It’s been doing good, it was just a minor tweak,” he added.

It was a lost opportunity for Little who had solid showing at the end of the Blazers first preseason game against Denver on Tuesday. He didn’t get an x-ray after Thursday's game, saying team doctors deemed in unnecessary, but he admitted that it was unlikely he will be cleared to play by Saturday night when the Blazers take on the Phoenix Suns (5pm on NBC Sports Northwest).

Thanks to the early injury, Little remains largely an unknown in the very early stages of his rookie season. Blazers fans got a chance to see him in summer league, but he’s played just 16 total minutes in preseason after spending September sharpening his game at the Blazers practice facility.

“Training camp was really good,” he said. “Just learned a lot, trying to get better each and every day. So, I thought it was pretty productive for me.”

Behind the scenes, the Blazers have been impressed with Little’s work ethic and his athleticism as a 19 year old going up against pros. But he isn’t likely to get much playing time during the regular season, which makes his absence from exhibitions games even more unfortunate.

The two weeks of the preseason were going to be a chance for him to get valuable on-court experience in a competitive setting against real opponents. With the minor injury, he’ll have to wait a few days before getting back out on the court. But a timeline of a couple days isn't bothering Little, who offered a much wider view before making his way out of the locker room.

“I’ll have a long career, I’m confident in that,” Little said with a smile. “So there will definitely be more games down the road.”

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Listen here for a special Trail Blazers edition of The Bridge Podcast with Kevin Calabro:

Injury update on Nassir Little following the 2nd preseason game

Injury update on Nassir Little following the 2nd preseason game

The Trail Blazers were hit with an injury on Thursday when Nassir Little was forced to leave the game after a left ankle injury. 

After attempting a layup and being fouled, Little went down and was seen grabbing the ankle. He shot the free throws but was then subbed out and taken to the locker room. 

Little did not return to the game but spoke postgame in the locker room about the injury:

All things considered, this is good news. Little was probably looking at reduced minutes for Saturday's game anyway. The assumption is guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who sat out Thursday's game (load management), will return to the rotation on Saturday. 

We will have more updates from the practice facility on Friday and pregame on Saturday. 

Saturday's 5pm game will air on the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers, NBC Sports Northwest, and also stream on the MyTeams app!

Instant Analysis: Young Guns get run in 2nd preseason game

Instant Analysis: Young Guns get run in 2nd preseason game

The Trail Blazers preseason continued tonight in a game vs. Maccabi Haifa. With Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Hassan Whiteside all sitting out due to 'load management' the young Trail Blazers got some extra minutes tonight. Nassir Little left the game in the first half with a leg injury and did not return. 

Here are three quick takeaways from the win from our NBC Sports team at the game:

Mike Richman, Reporter

This wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the Blazers championship caliber depth as the back half of the rotation struggled to completely pull away from Haifa all night. That said, Anfernee Simons showed some flashes of a special shooting touch and Zach Collins was the best big man on the floor. Not great, but not really meaningful. On to Saturday against Phoenix when the whole roster should be available.

Chris Burkhardt, Producer

Portland did exactly what they should have. Simons had a great game and showed he can be a spark plug off the bench. He can go from cold to red hot in seconds. He had a few 6-0 runs all by himself. That's the good side. On the bad side, we need to see more from Anthony Tolliver. Against a team like Maccabi Haifa, I expected him to get hot and find his groove. That wasn't the case. Instead, he was held scoreless through three quarters. The Blazers need him to find his shot... But, it's just preseason. Keep shaking that rust off and call me back when the games count.

Dwight Jaynes, Insider

Maccabi Haifa needs to quit scheduling NBA teams. It is now 0-20 against them with an average margin of defeat of about 30 points per game. Plus this nugget of fun:

You can listen to the latest Bridge podcast with Trail Blazer announcer, Kevin Calabro right here:

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns for a 5pm tip-off on Saturday. The preseason game will air on NBC Sports Northwest and stream on the MyTeams app!

Check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Nassir Little leaves early with left ankle injury

Nassir Little leaves early with left ankle injury

The Blazers were dealt an injury blow on Thursday when rookie Nassir Little had to leave the game against Maccabi Haifa after suffering a left ankle injury. 

Little went up for a layup late in the first quarter and was fouled on the attempt. He landed awkwardly and was seen on the court holding his left leg. 

He was able to get up and shoot the two free throws. but was them subbed out and walked gingerly back to the locker room. 

The team has announced that Little sustained a left ankle sprain and will not return to the game. 

With his 'pit bull' mentality, Nassir Little accepted Damian Lillard's challenge

With his 'pit bull' mentality, Nassir Little accepted Damian Lillard's challenge

There was a game within the game on Tuesday night as the Trail Blazers hosted the Denver Nuggets in Portland’s first exhibition game of the year.  

During second half action, a side battle between Blazers rookie Nassir Little and Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. was initiated.

Porter Jr. started to get it going offensively and in turn, started talking trash to the Blazers bench.

With Portland’s starters on the bench for the second half, Damian Lillard heard Porter Jr. spout off. Lillard then wanted to fire up his rookie.

Lillard said postgame, “Young players are really confident and try to prove themselves. We started gassin’ up Nas. ‘Like, Nas!’”

After the game, Little explained the situation:

“There was a little bit of talking out on the court. Dame overheard it. He came up to me and said, ‘hey bro, just hoop.’ That was all gas by Dame,” Little said with a smile.

Lillard added, “I got in [Little’s] ear like, ‘ look neither one of you all got a single point as a professional athlete and he’s challenging you right now. Let me see something.”

Little was up for the challenge. 

The Blazers rookie admitted Lillard ‘gassin him up’ it worked.

[RELATED]: Introducing Nassir Little: Make your own legacy

Little was productive in his 12 minutes of play. He recorded eights points and four rebounds.

Little’s aggressive nature broke through.

The 19-year-old made a living at the free throw line on Tuesday hitting 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. 

“I was just having fun, bringing energy to the court like always,” Little said postgame.

Porter Jr. finished with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 1-of-2 from the free throw line in 17 minutes of action.

Even as a rookie, Little already understands he has to show his teeth first.

Little pointed out after Wednesday’s practice that he "has to have a 'pit bull' mentality on the court, especially being a rookie in this league you’ve got to establish that dominance early.”

Little also believes that not enough credit is given to the type of leader Lillard has become.

“It’s big time. Leadership is an undervalued thing. Having a guy like Dame instill confidence in the younger guys I think is really important because the better we are, the better we can help the team, even out here in practice.”

[RELATED]: Trail Blazer rookie Nassir Little already "paying it forward" in the Portland community

It wasn’t just Lillard who was able to pump up Little on Tuesday night.

The Blazers rookie gave a shout out to the fans as well.

“That’s one of my favorite parts about basketball, is playing in environments like that, making big plays and getting everybody excited. I just fed off of that."

Nassir Little on Blazers Outsiders: Burgers, Drake, Plankton & more

Nassir Little on Blazers Outsiders: Burgers, Drake, Plankton & more

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little joined Danny Marrang and Alex Haigh on Trail Blazers Outsiders this week.

Per usual, there was a little basketball talk, but mostly just fun and off-the-wall discussions.

The Blazers rookie forward answered a few rapid fire questions to start the show.  

Little went with a burger over a burrito.  

He would go with the step-back three-pointer instead of the dunk for a game-winner.

He’s a ‘Fornite’ guy over ‘Call of Duty’.

And, he’s all about Drake, not Kendrick Lamar.

The 19-year-old also had some fun joking about his “beef” with teammates, former Duke standouts Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr.

It was evident that the North Carolina-Duke rivalry is going strong in Portland, but it’s clear Little is having fun with it and says, “I’m gonna rock my school” with his UNC shirts during pickup games.

The veterans on the team have been showing Little the ropes. He has been very appreciative of their advice and willingness to help.

“It’s a good group of guys to be around.”

Little also discussed how much he enjoyed his first official meet and greet in Beaverton last weekend.

“It was extremely exciting, Little said. “I don’t think they understand that it was as exciting for me as it was for them. You know what I’m saying… Being a person that somebody wants to meet, I think that’s really surreal.  

Little also tried to interpret Hassan Whiteside’s SpongeBob snapchats. Watch the video above to hear Little’s description of Whiteside’s advice for Plankton.

Spoiler alert: It’s as funny as you expect it to be.   

Nassir Little looking to earn respect before Blazers training camp starts

Nassir Little looking to earn respect before Blazers training camp starts

With just over two weeks until the Portland Trial Blazers preseason slate tips off, the question remains -- what will Portland’s rotation look like this season?

If you include two-way player, Jaylen Hoard, the Blazers have added seven new additions to the squad.

What about Blazers rookie Nassir Little? Could we see him get some run?

Over the last two weeks with the players returning to Portland to get acquainted with each other before training camp gets underway, Little has been focusing on what his teammates think about him before the season gets started.

“To earn their respect on the court as a rookie has been big for me. I’m excited to keep going with that,” Little said at his first official meet and greet over the weekend.

[RELATED]: Introducing Nassir Little: Make your own legacy

At just 19 years old, Little recognizes that he has a lot to learn from the guys who have been around the organization the longest, especially Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He also has been fighting the shell shock of it all.   

“It’s been good,” Little said. “For me, walking in and seeing Dame in the building, and then CJ, and then Pau Gasol, just guys I watched growing up it’s been surreal.”

Gasol’s rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies was in 1998.

Little was born in 2000.

Think about that for a second…

[RELATED]: The Bridge Podcast with Nassir Little

Even though Little has yet to play his first real minutes in a Trail Blazers uniform, advice has been in pouring in from Trail Blazers veterans.

“It all starts over,” was one piece of advice given to Little.

“All the stuff in the past is in the past, but now I have another chance to earn my [reputation] and try to contribute early on, on a good team,” Little added.

[RELATED]: Blazer pick Nassir Little thinks he can "shock a lot of people in the NBA"

As the Trail Blazers embark on their 50th Anniversary season, Little acknowledged this is a great season to start his career in Rip City.   

“I came in at the right time,” Little said. “A lot of people are excited. Looking forward to making a lot of noise this year.”

Yes, a lot of people in Portland are excited about this season and celebrating the past 50 years. Imagine the excitement when Little starts making a lot of noise.