How the DeMarcus Cousins injury affects the Trail Blazers' chances in the Western Conference

How the DeMarcus Cousins injury affects the Trail Blazers' chances in the Western Conference

News broke today that newly acquired Lakers big man, DeMarcus Cousins, tore his ACL in a workout in Las Vegas.

Video of the injury has been acquired by TMZ:

This is just another in a string of terrible injuries Cousins has suffered in a short time span:

The league, and certainly LeBron James and the Lakers, will not be the same without Cousins in the mix. In a revamped West, any injury has a ripple effect across the Conference where just a few wins can mean the difference between home court advantage, the right match-up or a deep playoff run. 

The Blazers are scheduled to take on the Lakers 3 times this season. The first coming on Friday, December 6th at Moda Center. Another home game follows on Saturday, December 28th and finally a single road game at Staples Center on Friday, January 31st. Yes, they still have LeBron and Anthony Davis, but the loss of Cousins shouldn't be overlooked. Prior to the Cousins injury, the Lakers were sitting at about 4 to 1 to win the NBA Title making them one of the Top 3 teams along with the Clippers and Bucks. The Blazers come in at around 33 to 1 depending on where you pull the odds from. 

In the end, the Lakers odds in the West probably won't significantly change because of this. It makes three games on the Trail Blazers schedule just a little bit easier and with two games vs. LA being at home a chance to take the season series is certainly possible. It will make life for the Blazers front court in Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, and Pau Gasol a little bit more manageable in those games vs. LA, as they will already have their hands full with Davis.

All that said, the Trail Blazers are still projected at about a #7 seed, but we know how Damian Lillard and company like to prove people wrong.

You can check out the entire Trail Blazers schedule here. 

Dame D.O.L.L.A. ends the summer with a new freestyle track

Dame D.O.L.L.A. ends the summer with a new freestyle track

The Trail Blazers start their training camp in just a few weeks. That means the NBA season is right around the corner and so is the end of summer. Speaking of "End of Summer," that's the names of the latest freestyle track dropped by Dame D.O.L.L.A, aka Damian Lillard for you basketball fans. 

Earlier this summer D.O.L.L.A released "Big D.O.L.L.A," his third album and the follow-up to 2017's "Confirmed." The track "End of Summer" just adds to a near endless list of impressive lyrical endeavors for the Trail Blazers star point guard. If you haven't heard it, you can listen to it below. 

If social media is to believed (and it is), fans loved D.O.L.L.A.'s latest track:

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little heard the track and only had one question for his new teammate:

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Nassir Little…. Off the court

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Nassir Little…. Off the court

BIRTH NAME: Nassir Shamai Little

BIRTHDAY: February 11th, 2000

AGE: 19

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Aquarius

Before Fame

Little hails from Orange Park, Florida, where he went to Orlando Christian Prep for High School.

Fun Facts

Little’s favorite food is Hibachi. On a Tar Heels social media Q & A last year, Little told UNC fans, “give me some Hibachi with some white sauce… that’s my go to.”

One of his hobbies is playing the piano.

Academics Played A Key Role

Little was the salutatorian of his senior class in High School and member of the National Honor Society.

Military Strong

Little is the son of Harold and April, who both served in the U.S. military.

In January of this year, sports editor Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of the Daily Tar Heel sat down with Little to talk about various on and off the court topics, including what it was like growing up with both of his parent having military backgrounds.

Interview Question: How did having military background parents sort of help you in staying disciplined because I know you're not just a great basketball player, you're a great student. You were the salutatorian of your high school, so how did they help you with that?

Little’s Answer: Growing up, I feel like, they did a lot of work as a child. They’re not really strict. People think, ‘You have military parents and they’re like sit up straight all the time,’ for me it wasn’t really like that it was just kind of like, just being courteous and being conscious and as I got older in middle school, I had a rough year academically. But my parents were never the type to like, get mad at me about it because it wasn’t nothing that they taught me, like it’s not their grades, so I looked at myself in the mirror and I guess it’s just something in me, and I looked at myself and I said, ‘I want to do better.’ So I told myself that I’m going to do good for the rest of my high school, middle school, whatever career. Ever since that year, I started grinding, doing better in the classroom and I’ve been good ever since.

Subway Is About To Have A Big-Time Customer

Days ahead of the 2019 NBA draft, TMZ Sports caught up with Little before he was about to get on a flight out of Washington DC.

Little was nice enough to answer a number of random questions in the airport. He showed off his sense of humor when he was asked about what he plans on buying once he signs that first NBA contract.

Spoiler alert: He is about to “Eat Fresh” A LOT.

Instagram King

As a freshman in college, Little proved he can interact with fans and show his personality with the best of them.

UNC Fans were treated to a “get to know freshman Nassir Little in this exclusive, fan-submitted Q&A on UNC Basketball’s Instagram.”

Some of the IG questions included, why did he cut his hair, does he have good enough dance moves, and why he chose North Carolina.

Fans also found out that Little’s pregame playlist is all about Drake -- “Anything by Drake is fire.”

Get to know more about Little off the court right here with the Tar Heel Q & A:

Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler rocks Damian Lillard jersey

Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler rocks Damian Lillard jersey

Over the weekend, Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler showed his respect for Damian Lillard.

Butler arrived at Sunday’s home game vs. the Colts wearing a Lillard-Trail Blazers statement jersey.

Erik Bacharach of The Tennessean shared the video on social media.

Monday morning, Lillard showed his gratitude on Twitter.

Could we see Butler at the Moda Center this upcoming season rooting on Lillard and the Blazers? You would think he would want to rock the jersey in Rip City.  

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any Lillard Time magic on Sunday as the Titans fell to the Colts, 19-17.

Blazers announce more details about 50th anniversary celebration

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USA Today

Blazers announce more details about 50th anniversary celebration

Trail Blazers fans have long been anticipating the start of the 50th season of their beloved franchise. It was announced over the summer that the team would turn back the clock and play a preseason game in Veteran Memorial Coliseum (VMC), they also announced special Decade Nights to be celebrated throughout the regular season. 

On Monday the Blazers dropped some more info on these special events:

  • The preseason game at VMC will feature members of the original team including Geoff Petrie, Rollan Todd, Jim Barnett, Shaler Halimon, and Bill Schonely in attendance. 
  • Rose Quater Commons will feature outdoor activities for fans to enjoy prior to the game, as well as special throwback photo opportunities throughout the concourse. Exclusive retail items will also be available.
  • The team will also have special decades nights to celebrate the '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, and '10s.
  • Every decade night will feature Trail Blazers alumni from the respective era. 
  • A special decade themed poster will be given to fans in attendance, and special themed retail items will be available for purchase. 
  • The team will wear the special Classic Edition uniforms during the decade night games. 

 

You don't want to miss this! To purchase tickets head to TrailBlazers.com

 

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Jaylen Hoard…. Off the court

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Jaylen Hoard…. Off the court

BIRTH NAME: Jaylen Hoard

BIRTHDAY: March 30th, 1999

AGE: 20

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Aries

Before Fame

Hoard was born in Le Havre, France.

He played for the club Centre Fédéral de Basketball before moving to the U.S. for high school to play basketball for Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina.

Fun Fact

Hoard’s Godmother, Edwige Lawson-Wade, played in the WNBA and was a member of France's 2012 Olympic Silver Medal team.

It runs in the family

Hoard’s father, Antwon Hoard, played basketball in France's LNB Pro A league. His mother, Katia Foucade, played college basketball at Washington and also played for the French national team.

His younger sister Anaia, who is one of four siblings, has played for France's under-17 team.

A Connection to Chief

Jaylen Hoard is just the third five-star recruit in program history for the Demon Deacons after Chris Paul and former Trail Blazer Al-Farouq Aminu who also played in Winston-Salem.

No Stranger To Portland

Hoard has yet to put on a Blazers jersey, but it is very familiar with PDX. He played in the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit at Moda Center. He also got accustomed to the Trail Blazers practice facility.

Check out a full interview of Jaylen Hoard from the Hoop Summit via Jonathan Givony and Matt McGann of Draft Express:

Taking Responsibility

Even as a freshman in college, Hoard was making sure to take ownership of his team’s mistakes.

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, after a 65-61 loss to Boston College in late January this year, Hoard was taking responsibility.

“We have to be accountable,” Hoard said. “We need to make sure when we’re making a mistake, we’re not pointing fingers. We have to really own up to our mistakes and actually like, work to fix them, not just talk about it, not just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to do better’ in everything, we actually have to do it.

Hoard had 22 points and 10 rebounds and was the only Deacon in double-figure scoring in the loss.

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Mario Hezonja… Off the court

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Mario Hezonja… Off the court

BIRTH NAME: Mario Hezonja

BIRTHDAY: February 25th, 1995

AGE: 24

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Pisces

Before Fame

Hezonja began playing basketball for Dubrovnik at the age of 13. He later signed with the Croatian team Zagreb, with whom he won the Euroleague Basketball Nike International Junior Tournament.

Fun Fact

The number one song on Billboard 100 was "Take A Bow" by Madonna the day Hezonja was born.

Nicknames

‘The Beast’

‘Super Mario’

No Thanks To College Offer

Hezonja had a scholarship offer from Coach John Calipari to play at Kentucky. Could you imagine what Kentucky’s team would’ve been like with the addition of Hezonja during the 2014-15 season? He would have been paired with Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, and Trey Lyles. But, Hezonja had set his sights on the NBA.

Strong Portland Connection

As the Trail Blazers get ready for the 2019-20 season, younger Blazer fans should know –

Hezonja is going to wear No. 44 this season, a tribute to Croatian great and former Trail Blazer and Hall of Famer Drazen Petrovic.

Petrovic wore No. 44 in Portland. Drazen's brother, Aleksandar, coached Hezonja on their country’s national team.

“Obviously the greatest European player of all time,” Hezonja said during his introductory news conference with the Blazers. “It’s out of respect to him. The journey continues in his name right now. I’m glad I’m the leader of the journey right now. Carrying my entire country with it.”

Hezonja’s passing skills were modeled after Petrovic.

Just for fun here’s a throwback video to some of Petrovic’s career highlights:

The Mario GOAT Meme

Last season, Hezonja found himself on a meme that quickly went viral.

March 17th’s one-point victory over the Lakers was no ordinary game for the Knicks and for Hezonja.

The New York Knicks forward — who yes also dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo and then stepped over the Greek Freak last December — had blocked LeBron James’ game-winner attempt in that win over the Lakers.

This photo was snapped after Hezonja committed a foul on King James earlier in the contest, so it’s not the photo of him blocking the LeBron’s game winner, however, it’s kind of a perfect summary of that night.

This is definitely a photo all Trail Blazer fans can get behind.

Best Advice As A Rookie

According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, some of the best advice Hezonja received during his rookie season with the Magic came from former NBA player and a legend in the European basketball world, Peja Stojakovic.

Stojakovic offered this advice: 'Just shut up and work.'

"We talked about the transition," Hezonja said. "You know how the older guys are: 'Just shut up and work.' That's the best advice from everybody. So that's what I'm doing."

CJ McCollum elected to Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame

CJ McCollum elected to Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame

Lehigh University Athletics has announced the 2019 distinguished class of elected candidates that will be inducted into the Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall.

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is among the five inductees.

The Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame currently includes 100 members across 25 sports.

McCollum joins Lehigh standouts Matt McBride '07 from baseball, Lisa (Sweeney) Van Ackeren '09 from softball; along with former coaches Muffet McGraw (Women's Basketball), and Chris Marshall '88 (Swimming and Diving). 

The official induction ceremony will take place on Friday evening, September 27th.

According to Lehigh, McCollum and McGraw will have their formal induction ceremonies at a different date when they are able to attend.

McCollum is considered the most accomplished student-athlete to pass through Lehigh's men's basketball program.

Here is a quick list of McCollum’s accomplishments at Lehigh:

-- Graduated as the Patriot League's all-time leading scorer

-- Ranks second on Lehigh's career scoring list

-- Two-time Patriot League Player of the Year

-- Led the Mountain Hawks to Patriot League titles in 2009-10 and 2011-12

-- Scored a game-high 30 points in the memorable upset of No. 15 seed Lehigh defeating No. 2 seed Duke 75-70 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament

-- Three-time first team All-Patriot League honoree

-- All-Patriot Rookie of the Year in 2010 (Also, Player of the Year)

After the Trail Blazers selected McCollum 10th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, McCollum became Lehigh's first-ever NBA draft pick.

Lehigh’s Hall of Fame is located in Taylor Gymnasium and is named in honor of Roger S. Penske, class of '59.

Inductees for the Hall of Fame are determined by a selection committee based on nominations and detailed research on criteria of the nominees “charter and founding membership.”

Potential candidates are eligible for nomination at any time after five years of receiving his or her bachelor's degree.

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Pau Gasol… Off the court

Everything you need to know about new Trail Blazer Pau Gasol… Off the court

BIRTH NAME: Pau Gasol Sáez

BIRTHDAY: July 6th, 1980

AGE: 39

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Cancer

Before Fame

Right before Gasol’s basketball career took off, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Barcelona. Being such a big NBA fan growing up, Gasol wanted to find a cure for AIDS when Magic Johnson revealed to the world in 1991 that he was HIV positive.

Pau left medical school early when his basketball career with FC Barcelona began to flourish.

Fun Facts

Pau’s jersey was the 14th best seller in the NBA during the 2009–10 season.

He speaks English, Spanish and Catalan.

Pau’s first sport was rugby.

Medical studies run in the family

In a 2009 interview, posted on the Lakers official website, Gasol discussed what life was like growing up with his mother being a physician and his father a hospital administrator.

Interview Question: “Was education emphasized before sports as you grew up?”

Gasol: “Yes, it was always ‘Do your work before you play.’ They wanted me to keep my options open, to make sure studying was a big priority over basketball because you’re not sure that sports will work out. So I stayed in school as long as I could and should have even though it was hard my first and last years in college to do both medical school and professional basketball.”

Visiting LA’s Children's Hospital

During his time with the Lakers, Pau would spend a lot of his time at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

The kids at the Children's Hospital would light up when Pau would visit.

UNICEF Foundation:

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories “to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.”

Pau has been a big part of this organization for years.

He had been UNICEF’s Spain Ambassador since 2003. Just this past July, Pau was appointed as a Global Champion for Nutrition and Zero Childhood Obesity by UNICEF.

In his new role, he will help UNICEF “tackle childhood obesity and malnutrition-related issues to ensure all children can reach their full potential.”

Wedding Date

Gasol and his wife Catherine tied the knot in July 2019.

Gasol impersonator for hire

In 2011 Michael Fanter was trying to burst onto the scene.

Fanter was a guy who kind of made a name for himself by sort of kind of looking like Pau Gasol; and thus, he would make appearances at parties and events.

According to a 2011 Deadspin article, Fanter was charging $1,500 for appearances.

No Stranger To Old Man Jokes These Days

Last November, Gasol’s teammate Marco Belinelli had some fun at his expense.

While with San Antonio, Pau had been dealing with left foot soreness.  

Belinelli couldn’t help himself, and decided to poke fun at Pau getting older.

Belinelli posted a photo on his Instagram story of a skeleton's ankle from the team's practice facility. Belinelli proceeded to jokingly remind Gasol to retrieve his ankle.

Trail Blazers finalize 2019 training camp roster

Trail Blazers finalize 2019 training camp roster

With three new additions to the roster, the Portland Trail Blazers have finalized their training camp squad.  

Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey announced on Thursday that the Blazers have signed center Moses Brown, guard Troy Caupain and guard London Perrantes to training camp contracts.

Portland will tip-off its 50th training camp on Monday, September 30th with Media Day at Moda Center. The team’s first practice is set for Tuesday, October 1st.

Brown, 19, played in 32 games (31 starts) his freshman 2018-19 season at UCLA. Brown went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Caupain, 23, appeared in four games for the Orlando Magic in 2018-19 as a two-way contract player. Caupain went undrafted in 2017 out of Cincinnati.

Perrantes, 24, played in 2018-19 for Limoges CSP and Cholet Basket in the French Pro A League. After going undrafted in 2017, he signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

No.

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Born

Yrs.

Prior to NBA/Home Country

24

Kent Bazemore

G/F

6' 5"

200

7/1/89

7

Old Dominion/USA

4

Moses Brown

C

7' 1"

245

10/13/99

Rookie

UCLA/USA

10

Troy Caupain

G

6' 4"

210

11/29/95

1

Cincinnati/USA

33

Zach Collins

F/C

7' 0"

250

11/19/97

2

Gonzaga/USA

16

Pau Gasol

F/C

7' 0"

250

7/6/80

18

FC Barcelona/Spain

44

Mario Hezonja

F

6' 8"

250

2/25/95

4

FC Barcelona/Spain

6

Jaylen Hoard

F

6' 9"

210

3/30/99

Rookie

Wake Forest/France

5

Rodney Hood

G/F

6' 8"

205

10/20/92

5

Duke/USA

17

Skal Labissiere

F/C

6' 11"

235

3/18/96

3

Kentuky/USA

0

Damian Lillard

G

6' 3"

195

7/15/90

7

Weber State/USA

9

Nassir Little

F

6' 6"

220

2/11/00

Rookie

North Carolina/USA

3

CJ McCollum

G

6' 3"

190

9/19/91

6

Lehigh/USA

27

Jusuf Nurkić

C

7' 0"

290

8/23/94

5

Cedevita Zagreb/Bosnia Herzegovina

8

London Perrantes

G

6' 2"

200

10/3/94

1

Virginia/USA

1

Anfernee Simons

G

6' 4"

190

6/8/99

1

IMG Academy/USA

43

Anthony Tolliver

F

6' 8"

245

6/1/85

11

Creighton/USA

2

Gary Trent Jr.

G

6' 6"

205

1/18/99

1

Duke/USA

21

Hassan Whiteside

C

7' 1"

265

6/13/89

7

Marshall/USA