Greg Oden wishes he would've listened to his body, gives advice to Zion Williamson

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Greg Oden wishes he would've listened to his body, gives advice to Zion Williamson

The pressures that come with being a No. 1 overall NBA pick.

Having bad knees.

People believing that this pick is transcendent, that it's going to turn the franchise around.

Those are just a few things that former Trail Blazers center Greg Oden and current New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson have in common.

Oden opened up about his difficult time in Portland on Thursday’s episode of the ‘Scal and Pals’ podcast with Brian Scalabrine and Steve Ceruti.  

Scalabrine wanted to know the truth about Oden’s knees: Were there any signs of knee troubles before the Trail Blazer selected him as the No. 1 pick in 2007?

"No." According to Oden, the knee problems started after the team was trying its best to fix a length difference in his legs.

I never had any knee issues before – after Summer League and then out of nowhere it spiraled after that, and it was just thing after thing. Nothing that I could do to control it… When I look back at it that summer, I had like a leg length differential, so when I first got into the league, I got some new orthotics that fixed that all the way when my whole entire growing up and playing career I was so used that leg length, my little length on my right side… That was comfortable for me.  – Former Trail Blazers big man Greg Oden

Oden added, “I got those orthotics and then two days later, my knee was so swollen I couldn’t even put jeans on.”

The now 31-year-old believes that by fixing the length differential in his legs he had to overcompensate and thus the effects of the orthotics are were all the knee problems began.

By trying to do what the best for Oden, did those decisions actually expedite his early retirement in 2016?   

Another big man, who has been dealing with his own knee issues, is No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

Williamson underwent surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on October 21st. He first returned to full practices the first week of January.

Oden offered up this piece of advice to the young fella:

“Get as much information about your own body as possible, figure out what works for you, work with the doctors and the trainers to figure out what’s going to be the best thing for you instead of just going with the first option,” Oden said.

Oden also discussed what kind of pressure comes along with being the top pick.

I remember being drafted and I was the first one to do all the interviews and then I was the last one to leave the arena from all the interviews [on draft night]. And then, I had an hour to get my stuff together and I was on a plane to Portland and I was surprised with a parade and I was like – ‘oh shoot, like this is real.’ It looked like the whole city showed out for it.  So, I mean, instantly it’s a lot of pressure. You feel like you’re going to let a lot of people down or you see a lot of people looking up to you like you’re going to change that city for the better – I think that’s the definition of pressure, actually. -- Greg Oden on Scal and Pals

The former Blazer says he wishes all the best for Zion after meeting him last summer.

The original timetable for Williamson’s injury was six to eight weeks. His now targeted return date of January 22nd would be a little more than 13 weeks from the surgery.

LISTEN TO ENTIRE PODCAST HERE:

Blazers shoot down shorthanded Nuggets: 'We did what we needed to do'

Blazers shoot down shorthanded Nuggets: 'We did what we needed to do'

Jusuf Nurkic was dunking everything he possibly could, Gary Trent Jr. continued his torrid Orlando restart campaign and Damian Lillard had a career shooting night even by his own lofty standards.

And yet 45 minutes into the game, the Trail Blazers still hadn’t put away the shorthanded Denver Nuggets. Before tip-off the Nuggets had ruled out Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Paul Millsap, and in the fourth quarter Denver coach Mike Malone elected to keep All-Star Nikola Jokic on the bench and let the back half of the rotation get a chance at taking down the Blazers.

It nearly worked. Despite the 45 points and career-high tying 11 three-pointers from Damian Lillard, and Jusuf Nurkic throwing down six dunks, including a viral highlight over Bol Bol in the first half, the Blazers couldn’t ever quite pull away enough to get comfortable. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Not until Gary Trent Jr., who finished with another absurd statline of 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including seven made three-pointers, drilled a shot from behind the arc with three minutes to go in the game.

We knew that they had a lot of their main guys out. But in the NBA, over my career I’ve learned that those are the most dangerous nights when you come out there thinking it’s going to be an easy game. — Damian Lillard

This didn’t look like an instance of the Blazers not taking an opponent seriously. The Nuggets still had talent on the floor in Jokic, who played three quarters and rookie Michael Porter Jr., who played deep into the fourth. More accurately, this is a reminder of how challenging the Blazers playoff push remains. Even on a night where they faced a team riddled with injuries that benched its best player down the stretch, the Blazers still needed a Herculean night from their star and a whole lot of offensive help from the supporting cast.

Portland looks better in Orlando than at any other point in the season. Probably better than a typical eighth seed, even if that’s the highest spot they can earn through four more seeding games. However, their flaws are obvious. They still aren’t a particularly good defensive group, even if they look sharper at times on that end. 

More importantly for them, they’re 3-1 and things outside of their control have broken their way for most part. Memphis is winless in four games in Orlando and lost starting power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. to a knee injury. Sacramento and New Orleans have sputtered in their restarts as well, leaving the Blazers alone in ninth place just a half game back of Memphis for the eighth seed and a 1.5 games clear of the surging Phoenix Suns.

The highlights were pretty, even if the scoreboard never really matched it. But the Blazers don’t need to earn style points for margin victory, that’s not what they’re after anyway.

“We did what we needed to do. Some people might say, ‘Aww they didn’t play anybody’,” Lillard said, anticipating the criticism from the above paragraphs before they hit the keyboard. “But for us we’re not going to apologize for a win. We’re here to just get it done. Teams have lost those games and I’m just happy we were able to pull ours out.”

Listen to the full Talkin' Blazers Podcast here.

Damian Lillard & the Blazers are proving why they deserved a shot at the playoffs

Damian Lillard & the Blazers are proving why they deserved a shot at the playoffs

It was another close game for the Trail Blazers Thursday night, but this time, Portland faced a short-handed Denver Nuggets team who was without three of their starters in Jamal Murray (left hamstring; tightness), Gary Harris (right hip; muscle strain) and oPaul Millsap (rest).

Troy Daniels (right hip; tightness), Will Barton (right knee; soreness), and Vlatko Cancar (left foot; fracture) didn’t suit up for the Nuggets, either, as Denver continues to deal with the injury bug.

After Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard caught fire in the first quarter, scoring 14 points in his first 12 minutes, it seemed like the Blazers were going to steamroll the young Nuggets.

That wasn’t the case.  

However, Lillard wasn’t ready to say sorry for ‘only’ beating Denver by 10.

Some people might say, ‘oh, they didn’t play anybody,’ but for us, we’re not going to apologize for a win. We’re here to just get it done and teams have lost those games and I’m just happy we was able to pull ours out. -- Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard

There was plenty to like about the Trail Blazers' offense in Thursday's 125-115 win.

Lillard was red-hot from three and from all over the court really, hitting a career-high 11 threes on the night. He finished with 45 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and three steals. 

The Trail Blazers, as a team, knocked down 23 three pointers, a franchise-high, as Gary Trent, Jr. continued his hot shooting, connecting on 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. 

“We’re just trending and going in the direction that we want to be,” Lillard said.

Portland now sits just a half game back of the No. 8 seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

There’s a real chance that Portland could leapfrog the Grizzlies heading into the play-in games as the eight seed.

The Memphis Grizzlies have four games remaining: Oklahoma City, Toronto, Boston, and Milwaukee.

The Trail Blazers still must face the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Brooklyn.

[You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here with special guest Bill Walton]:

  

But, as cliché as it may admittedly sound, Portland is taking it one game at a time.

And hey, that’s worked thus far.  

We can’t afford to watch the standings or watch the scoreboards because it’s that close and they’re so many teams that are right in the thick of things that… nobody is even close to a magic number so right now it’s just most important that we concern ourselves with winning games and doing what we have to do.-- Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

“I think we’re playing good basketball,” Coach Stotts added. “I think we’re playing with a determination in a playoff stretch that you have to have during this. So whatever people say about us or ninth seed, eighth seed, we have to win games and we’ve dug ourselves this hole, and we’re playing with the urgency that we need to play with, and I think one of the reasons we’ve won three of these games is because, and we played well against Boston, is that we’ve really approached each game with a playoff mentality, a must-win mentality, and when you play like that there’s a good chance you’re gonna play a lot better.” 

Coach Stotts reiterated that with four more games to go, there’s still so much up in the air with how close teams are in the standings in the bottom half of the West.  

“We’re all playing the same way,” Stotts said of the teams vying for a playoff spot. “There’s only one spot for us and we have to play that way… We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and it’s just about playing the next game.”

“Sorry, pretty cliché,” Stotts added for good measure.  

A statement that was never looked at as cliché was the conversation Lillard had with Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes at the end of May when Lillard said he wouldn't play when the NBA returns unless Portland has a chance to compete for a playoff berth.

Four games in and now everyone sees why.

With the addition of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins and the emergence of Gary Trent Jr., the Blazers are right where Lillard thought they would be if they were given the opportunity.   

Months ago when I said, ‘if we don’t have a chance to compete for a playoff spot, I don’t want to play,’ because I knew that if we did have a chance to play for a playoff spot it would look something like it looks right now because we’re a more healthy team, more rested, and I knew what our team was doing – guys was getting conditioning in and we stayed in contact. As soon as we opened our facility, guys were there every day. I knew that once we got here, we would be one of the teams that could take advantage of it. So far we have.  -- Damian Lillard

The Western Conference race for the eighth seed is heating up. While the Blazers are 3-1 in the restart, Memphis has struggled. So has New Orleans. The Blazers are 0.5 games behind the eight seed.

And Rip City knows, Lillard still has a lot more to say and do. 

Buckle up, Rip City! The chase continues.  

Damian Lillard carries Trail Blazers past Nuggets and closer to No. 8 seed

Damian Lillard carries Trail Blazers past Nuggets and closer to No. 8 seed

Damian Lillard wasn’t quite all the Trail Blazers needed Thursday night to beat the Denver Nuggets 125-115. But the Blazers most certainly needed all of what Damian Lillard gave them.

And that was a lot.

Lillard scored 45 points, had 12 assists, four rebounds and three steals -- and took on his team’s most difficult defensive assignment in the second half.

And the Trail Blazers, who came to the Orlando Bubble to try to claim the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference in order to earn a play-in series against the Memphis Grizzlies, moved within a half-game of the Grizzlies for the eighth position.

This was a big game for the Trail Blazers and Lillard knew that Denver -- even with four starters sitting out this game -- was going to be dangerous and he had to take the game seriously from the start.

Which he did, with 14 points in the first quarter. The Portland guard had made only 10 of his 30 three-point shots in the first three games in Orlando but knocked down 11 of 18 in this game, tying his own franchise record for most made threes in a game.

Lillard wasn’t going to let his teammates look past this game or take a win for granted because the Nuggets were short-handed. 

“We’re here to just get it done,” Lillard said. “Teams have lost those games. Tonight, I just wanted to come out and set the tone.

“They had guys out and you can’t come out and think you’re going to win. You have to come out and be present. I don’t care who is out there, we have to come out and play like everybody’s out there because it means more to us than it means to them. And that was my mentality.”

And after Michael Porter Jr. burned the Trail Blazers early, Lillard volunteered to take on the task of guarding the 6-10 power forward. Sometimes on defense, a big heart is as valuable as a big body.

“We’ve got eight games to try to get into the playoffs,” Lillard said. “It’s not like we’re looking at a full 82 game season. I told (Coach Terry Stotts), 'Let me guard him.' He made a few shots, was comfortable for a little bit and i just wanted to make him a little bit uncomfortable.

“I was physical. I made him work for it and I thought I did a pretty solid job of that.”

Lillard was Deep Dame for most of this game, launching long-range shots quick and accurately

“In the first two games, the ball was coming off my hands really well,” Lillard said. "I just wasn’t making it. It was just timing. We hadn’t played too many games.

“It felt good, I knew eventually it would click -- the ball would just go in and it would feel great.”

And when it clicks for Lillard, there’s a good chance it will click for others. When the Blazer star catches fire, he draws more attention and it opens shots for his teammates.

Down the stretch of the game, everybody was contributing to the offense as the defense focused on Lillard. Gary Trent and Jusuf Nurkic were the beneficiaries and Portland scored 15 of the game’s final 22 points.

But this doesn't get any easier.

After a day of rest Friday, Portland plays the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday and Philadelphia 76ers Sunday in its only back-to-back on the Orlando schedule.

And the Blazers are likely to again need all they can get from Damian Lillard.

Instant Analysis: Blazers set franchise record for 3-pointers made in win

Instant Analysis: Blazers set franchise record for 3-pointers made in win

Before tip-off, it seemed Thursday’s game was a lock for Portland since Denver was not only playing in a second night of a back-to-back, but the Nuggets were also short-handed.

Denver was without Troy Daniels (right hip; tightness), Jamal Murray (left hamstring; tightness), Will Barton (right knee; soreness), Vlatko Cancar (left foot; fracture), Gary Harris (right hip; muscle strain) and Paul Millsap (rest).

The Nuggets beat San Antonio Wednesday afternoon, 132-126 behind Michael Porter Jr.'s 30 points and 15 rebounds.

Porter Jr. picked up where he left off against the Blazers. But despite Portland's slow start, minus Damian Lillard, the Blazers took the 27-26 lead after one quarter.

Lillard took advantage of the Nuggets backcourt out with injuries.

In the Damian Lillard show early, the Blazers five-time All-Star dropped 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, while Porter Jr. had a quick 10 points in the first 12 minutes of action.  

Portland had all the momentum going into the break. The Blazers had continued contributions from Lillard as Gary Trent Jr. and Jusuf Nurkic also got in on the action with pull-up jumpers, dunks, and more dunks. The Blazers took a 62-49 lead at halftime.

The Nuggets didn't back down though. Portland struggled to get a stop in the second half.

Denver outscored Portland, 38-30 in the third quarter to stick around for the final period.  

Whether Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee was rolling to the hoop and finishing at the rim or having success on the glass, Plumlee along with Porter Jr. were two big reasons why the Blazers weren’t able to rest their starters in the fourth quarter.

The Trail Blazers knocked down 23 three pointers, a franchise-high. Damian Lillard connected on 11 three pointers. Gary Trent, Jr. went 7-10 from beyond the arc.  

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 125, Nuggets 115

Here are three quick takeaways from Portland's fourth seeding game from our NBC Sports NW team:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider: 

It was all Dame all the time. With a little help from Trent.

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

Remember when people were talking about how the Blazers’ were struggling to score in the scrimmages games. Yeah, that was silly if people were concerned about this Blazers squad scoring. They’ve got plenty of options and with Damian Lillard starting off the game with 14 points in the first 12 minutes that set the tone offensively for the entire game.

ALSO: Is there anything that Gary Trent Jr. can’t do?

Between Jusuf Nurkic’s tomahawk dunks (and so many dunks in general) along with Trent Jr.’s pesky defense and threes, and then throw in Lillard’s shooting clinic, you would've thought this would've been a blowout win for Portland; credit the young Nuggets for keeping it close. 

Mike Richman, Reporter 

The Nuggets were already shorthanded coming in, and decided to rest most of their starters down the stretch, yet the Trail Blazers couldn't fully pull away until the final three minutes. It would have been a major missed opportunity. Instead, we'll probably remember this as a night the Blazers made a kajillion three-pointers and Jusuf Nurkic dunked a lot.

[You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here with special guest Bill Walton]:

  

Up Next: The Trail Blazers take on the LA Clippers Saturday at 10:00a.m. in Portland’s first leg of a back-to-back this weekend. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Northwest and stream the game on the MyTeams app.

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

WATCH Jusuf Nurkic posterizes Bol Bol and social media goes nuts!

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WATCH Jusuf Nurkic posterizes Bol Bol and social media goes nuts!

Jusuf Nurkic has said many times that playing against his former team the Denver Nuggets is just like any other game.

Buttttt, this Nurkic throw down says otherwise…

At the 3:02 mark of the second quarter Thursday night, the Bosnian Beast unleashed on former Oregon Duck and Nuggets rookie Bol Bol.

Welcome to the NBA, Bol Bol!!!

Nurk completed the poster and then completed the three-point play to put the Blazers up 11. 

And as one would imagine, he also had social media going crazy! 

















Nurkic has averaged 18.3 points and 10.1 rebounds in seven games against Denver since Portland acquired him from the Nuggets back on Feb. 13, 2017.

At the break, the Blazers are up 62-49. Catch the Blazers and Nuggets’ second half action on NBC Sports Northwest and on the MyTeams App. And find out if Nurk has a couple more jams in store for his former team.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast as special guest Bill Walton joins hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon]: 

 

  

WATCH Damian 'Logo' Lillard catches fire early vs. the Denver Nuggets

WATCH Damian 'Logo' Lillard catches fire early vs. the Denver Nuggets

We hope that the ESPN World Wide of Sports complex has plenty of fire extinguishers handy because Damian Lillard is on fire. 

Okay, not literally, but Lillard caught the hot hand early hitting four of his first five three-pointers in the first quarter alone.

What was looking like potential danger early on in the game for the Portland Trail Blazers with the Denver Nuggets grabbing a 20-12 lead, the Nuggets made one critical mistake: not picking up Lillard as soon as he crosses half court.

WATCH

Here is how the social media world reacted to Logo Lillard's hot shooting: 

Portland (2-1) finished the first quarter with a 27-26 lead over Denver in yet another important game with their eye on the eight seed out West.

Catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest or stream it on the MyTeams App!

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets betting odds revealed

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets betting odds revealed

As Portland prepares for its fourth game of the NBA restart Thursday evening, the betting odds have been revealed for its game against Denver. 

The Trail Blazers are four (4.0) point favorites against the Denver Nuggets in Caesars Casino & Sportsbook with 53% of bets taking the Blazers to cover, per The Action Network.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Additionally, the over/under point total against Denver is 232.5. Portland has averaged 124.6 points per game during the restart and Denver has averaged 119.3 points per game.

It marks the second time that the Blazers are favored in the seeding games and the first time since the opener of the restart against Memphis. Portland has covered in two of their games (Memphis and Houston) and pushed the four-point spread in its loss against Boston. 

Damian Lillard's over/under for points scored is 26.5. He has averaged 22.0 points against Denver this season. Meanwhile, CJ McCollum, who has averaged 15.7 points against the Nuggets this season, has an over/under of 22.5. 

The Nuggets, who are playing on the second of a back-to-back, will likely be without Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Will Barton. All three players did not play the day prior against San Antonio. 

ESPN's BPI index has raised its odds of Portland making the postseason from 9% to 25% after the first week of the restart. 

Meanwhile, Portland continues to be +400 in Westgate to be the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Eye on the 8: For Trail Blazers, almost everything is going perfectly

Eye on the 8: For Trail Blazers, almost everything is going perfectly

Another day in the bubble means another day for Portland to strengthen its playoff position, or lose some ground.

The Trail Blazers will take on the Denver Nuggets at 5:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports NW in the team's fourth game of the restart. The Nuggets will be playing on a second of a back-to-back. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Heading into Thursday, the standings are as follows:

Note: Portland holds the tiebreaker against all teams fighting for the eighth seed due to having played more games before the season got suspended, therefore having a higher win percentage.

UPDATE: The standings are updated as of Sacramento's 140-125 victory over New Orleans and Phoenix's 114-99 win over Indiana Thursday.

8. Memphis Grizzlies Remaining Schedule: OKC, Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee 

9. Portland Trail Blazers (1.0 game behind) Remaining schedule: Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Brooklyn

10. Phoenix Suns (2.0 games behind)  Remaining schedule: Miami, OKC, Philadelphia, Dallas

11. San Antonio Spurs (2.0 games behind)  Remaining schedule: Utah, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio

12. Sacramento (2.5 games behind)  Remaining schedule: Brooklyn, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles Lakers

13. New Orleans Pelicans (2.5 games behind)  Remaining schedule: Washington, San Antonio, Sacramento, Orlando

On Thursday, August 6, Portland will play the Denver Nuggets, who will be on the second of a back-to-back, at 5:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports Northwest.

A Blazers victory will give them a 1.5-game lead over San Antonio for the ninth seed and only a half-game behind Memphis for the eighth seed. 

Games to watch on August 6: 

New Orleans vs Sacramento (10:30 a.m. PT) 

UPDATE: Sacramento won 140-125. 

Who do we want to win? Sacramento. 

Line: NOP -4

While Sacramento is also competing for the eighth seed, they are a full two games behind Portland while New Orleans trails Portland by only a game. The Pelicans also have a much easier schedule than the Kings so any losses they can accumulate will benefit Portland. 

Phoenix vs Indiana (1:00 p.m. PT)

Who do we want to win? Indiana.

UPDATE: Pheonix won 114-99

Line: IND -3

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Phoenix has won its first three games of the restart to be just a game and a half behind Portland while the Pacers don't even play in the West. An Indiana win would help the Blazers gain some separation. 

Best Case Scenario: SAC, IND, POR all win. Portland would then be 0.5 game behind Memphis and 1.5 games ahead of San Antonio and 2.0 ahead of New Orleans.

Worst Case Scenario: NOP, PHX win, and POR losses, then POR and NOP would tied for ninth, 1.5 games behind Memphis for eighth. 

Catch Portland and Denver at 5:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports Northwest.

[RELATED]: How to Watch & Stream Blazers vs. Nuggets, coverage begins at 2pm

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum converted his NBA bubble room into a wine cooler

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum converted his NBA bubble room into a wine cooler

CJ McCollum has been a self-confessed wine enthusiast for years. 

On his days away from the court, you’ll often catch McCollum sipping an Oregon pinot noir and taking advantage of the proximity to the Willamette Valley by visiting nearby vineyards.

McCollum also spends a lot of time on his Vivino app, scanning labels to learn more about the vino he’s consuming. Recently, he teamed up with Adelsheim Vineyards to create his own label, McCollum Heritage 91, forging a bond with his backyard wine region. 

It’s safe to say the Portland Trail Blazers sharpshooter has integrated himself into the wine culture that spans across the NBA. 

[RELATED: How CJ McCollum became a wine connoisseur]

With McCollum and the Trail Blazers located inside the NBA bubble during the league’s return to play, the Disney playing grounds have become the unofficial wine club of the NBA. 

Luckily, CJ doesn’t have to travel outside the NBA bubble to score great wine... because he’s brought it all himself. 

According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, McCollum has turned his hotel room into a wine cooler of sorts to preserve his beloved Pinots and honestly, every hotel room should have a wine cellar. 

He keeps the temperature around 60 degrees when he's inside it and in the mid-to-high 50s when he's not, all in an effort to protect the 84 bottles that he keeps in boxes, out of the light. For the most part, McCollum shipped in pinot noir from Oregon, where he is a member at several local wineries, along with the first bottling of his own recently released wine, McCollum Heritage 91, also an Oregon pinot noir.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast as special guest Bill Walton joins hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon]: 

  
McCollum has so much wine inside the Disney Yacht Club that he had to order more when his backcourt mate, Damian Lillard, celebrated his 30th birthday inside the NBA bubble

Per ESPN, he also ordered six more cases to give away to other players. 

"If you're in my hotel and you happen to be by the pool, you'll be able to partake in whatever I'm drinking that day," McCollum says, "so if it's during the daytime it'll probably be some bubbly. If it's at nighttime, it's probably pinot."

Luckily, CJ isn’t the only NBA star who loves to drink vino. His teammate, Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, also brought an array of “old world,” bottles from Europe inside the NBA bubble. The two will often open bottles together, discuss the wine’s characteristics, and guess the soil types and vintages.  

He's got a really, really good knowledge of wine, especially old world, and he loves that stuff and has heavily exposed me to it to where I've been able to learn more about Burgundy and been able to learn more about some of those other regions that I haven't quite frankly been to. So, kind of going through those things to where you truly understand and share and appreciate the wine with someone, it leads to a lot of great conversations and a lot of eventful evenings." – McCollum on Carmelo Anthony

[RELATED: Carmelo Anthony becomes wine connoisseur, discusses NBA suspension]

Passing wine around the table has become a daily routine for NBA players. Other players like LeBron James, Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker have publicly revealed their passion for vino. Some say it helps them to unwind after a long day on the court. 

"You see some teams sitting at separate tables, [and] they're drinking wine or they're discussing things over wine," McCollum says. "I think it's become more common practice, especially associated with dinner -- a way to catch up, a way to reflect and relax after a long day of working out and obviously being restricted to the bubble."