June 12th, 2019: It's Trail Blazers Day as the Portland City Council honors the organization

June 12th, 2019: It's Trail Blazers Day as the Portland City Council honors the organization

PORTLAND – Wednesday morning ahead of the Portland City Council Session at City Hall, the Trail Blazers organization was honored by the city.

Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts, along with President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, and Senior Vice President of Venue Operations Chris Oxley sat in front of Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Nick Fisher, and the rest of the City Council while Wheeler proclaimed June 12th, 2019 Trail Blazers Day.

“This is a proclamation honoring the Portland Trail Blazers. I’d like to thank coach Terry Stotts and Neil Olshey, Chris Oxley, and the Blazers staff for joining us this morning. I want to congratulate the Blazer players for having a truly incredible season this year,” Mayor Wheeler said.

Mayor Wheeler addressed Stotts and Olshey directly in front of a packed house at City Hall in downtown Portland.  

“I want to thank them for re-energizing the city," Wheeler said. "I just have to say this on a personal note, the Blazers played hard right down to the final buzzer and people in this city noticed it, people in this city were inspired by it and I thank you.”

Wheeler also shared his gratitude for the Rip City faithful.

“I’d like to thank the Blazers fans throughout the city for supporting the Blazers on their journey to the Western Conference Finals.”

“We’re so proud to have a team like the Portland Trail Blazers here and their entire organization and this is a proclamation on behalf of the entire Portland City Council honoring you for the great things you do in this community, not just on the court, but beyond, in helping to serve young people and people throughout this community all throughout this year,” Wheeler said.

Portland’s Mayor then read the proclamation that included a brief history of the franchise, mentioning Blazer greats, Clyde Drexler, Bill Walton and Terry Porter, along with honoring the Blazers late owner Paul Allen.  

Wheeler finished the proclamation by stating, “Now therefore, I, Ted Wheeler, the Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses, do hereby proclaim June 12th, 2019 to be Portland Trail Blazers Day in Portland and encourage all residents to observe this day.”  

Before the Council took a photo to remember Trail Blazers Day, Olshey spoke to the public about how grateful he was for Paul Allen’s sister Jody Allen taking over the team this past season.  

“No organization has a greater owner right now than Jody Allen… Her motivating us everyday led to us acquiring Rodney Hood, it led to acquiring Enes Kanter, it helped us see it through when Jusuf Nurkic went down and the adversity we faced,” Olshey said.

Olshey went on, saying, “I want to thank her in front of this body for everything Jody has done for our organization.”

Portland’s GM also formally announced that Damian Lillard received the NBA’s prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award on Wednesday. The award is given annually to an NBA player, coach or staff member who has shown “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Coach Stotts finished the City Council address, by thanking them for the tremendous honor.

“I’ve been in the NBA for over 25 years… I’ve been to all the cities, know all the teams, and to be the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers in this city, with this fan base, we are very fortunate and as much as you appreciate what we do, we appreciate the city,” Stotts said.

The Breakdown: The night Simons went off against the Kings

The Breakdown: The night Simons went off against the Kings

Was Anfernee Simons’ massive game against the Sacramento Kings in the final regular-season game of the year the catalyst that pushed the Portland Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals? You could very well make that case.

 

Simons' 37-point performance bolstered a huge comeback win that pushed the Blazers into the playoff bracket that allowed them to avoid the Golden State Warriors and until the third round. 

 

In any event, Simons' big night surprised even ardent supporters of the burgeoning guard. So how did he put together one of the best moments of Portland’s regular season?

 

Check out the very final part of our mini-series produced this summer where we wind back the clock and dissect some of the best moments of the magical 2018-19 Blazers season. 

 

Watch the full video breakdown above to see how Simons' used rebounding, passing, and driving techniques — including a special gather move — that allowed him to create space and trick the defense into backing off of him from the 3-point line.

Is Zach Collins getting enough respect from officials as a defender?

Is Zach Collins getting enough respect from officials as a defender?

Zach Collins is a bulldog on defense. He’s quick, aggressive and won’t back down from anyone.

He’s also only played in two NBA seasons, appearing in 143 games. 

In those 143 games, he is averaging 16.8 minutes on the court. So, to some officials, Collins’ aggressiveness is confused with recklessness. 

In a recent sit down interview with NBC Sports Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson, Zach Collins discussed getting into foul trouble and how he may not have been getting the benefit of the doubt early in his career. 

“There was a couple of plays where I would come around and block a shot and the ref would come to me and apologize to me and would say, ‘Well, you were so far away from the play, we didn’t think you would be able to get there. So, it was a foul.’

Fouls at the rim, if I’m going up to block a shot, I can live with those. I’ll take six of those all day. It’s the little ticky-tak ones where I’m being a little lazy or I’m out of position — those are the ones I’ve got to correct.”

Collins, who has averaged 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and nearly one block a game in his second season with the Trail Blazers, is poised to start at power forward this upcoming season. It’s likely he’ll garner more respect from officials, who traditionally tighten up the game with players off the bench.    

“Maybe they’ll know me a little bit better and maybe they’ll know I could get there this time. So, I think that’ll all play into it.”  

“Big Z’s Big Summer” premieres Wednesday, July 24th at noon on NBCSNorthwest.com

Blazers to play two preseason games against the Nuggets

Blazers to play two preseason games against the Nuggets

The Trail Blazers have yet to release their full preseason schedule, but thanks to the professional basketball team in Denver we now know who two of the Blazers games will be against. 

The Denver Nuggets released their full preseason schedule on Tuesday, and their four-game schedule is bookended by games against the Trail Blazers. 

The Blazers will host the Nuggets on October 8th, then play in Denver on October 17th. 

It was just a few months ago that the Blazers and Nuggets duked it out in an epic seven-game series in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Blazers clinched the series on the road and ended the Nuggets season. 

The rivalry wasted no time getting back on track. Why wait for the regular season when you can meet up in the preseason?! 

Who else will the Blazers play this preseason?  We will hopefully find out soon. More to come. 

UPDATE: 

According to Nuggets reporter Katy Winge, the October 8th game in Portland with be played at historic Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

 

Report: Damian Lillard will withdraw from Team USA

Report: Damian Lillard will withdraw from Team USA

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will withdraw from Team USA. 

Lillard follows teammate CJ McCollum, who withdrew last week, and a bunch of other NBA stars are who will not participate in Team USA Camp or the FIBA World Cup. 

The vast majority of players taking their name out of the running have done so with the intention of staying focused on their off-season training and preparing for the upcoming season. 

Recently, James Harden also took his name off the roster, as did new Laker Anthony Davis

Team USA will have a full August filled with training camp, scrimmages, travels and games as head coach Greg Popvich prepares the roster for the FIBA World Cup and eventually the 2020 Olympics. 

 

The tendon "recently just re-attached": An injury update on Zach Collins' thumb

The tendon "recently just re-attached": An injury update on Zach Collins' thumb

The NBA offseason is a chance for every player's body to get right.

For Trail Blazers center Zach Collins, this summer has been about healing his right thumb that was injured during the postseason versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, while also trying to refine his skills and put on muscle mass.

In a recent sit down interview with NBC Sports Northwest in his hometown of Las Vegas, Collins explained how the injury occurred and the progress of his healing. 

“It was in Game 2 of the first round and I just went up, someone swiped down and just tore the tendon in my thumb, Collins said. "It recently just re-attached after the season and now it’s just about getting it stronger again. It’s progressing really well." 

While the injury didn't sideline Collins during the Trail Blazers run to the Western Conference Finals, he was forced to wear a wrap to ease any pain and help stabilize the thumb. He continues to sport one even during workouts.

Collins has been consulting the Blazers’ hand specialist in Portland, who has been pleased with his progression. He is confident the tendon will heal on its own without surgery. "Luckily, there’s no surgery or anything, so that's good,” Collins added.

"Big Z's Big Summer" airs Wednesday on @NBCSNorthwest on Twitter and on our website NBCSnorthwest.com.

To join Team USA, or not to join Team USA? That is Damian Lillard's question

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USA Today Images

To join Team USA, or not to join Team USA? That is Damian Lillard's question

NBA stars are removing themselves from the pool for the U.S. FIBA World Cup daily. In roughly eight days, All-Stars Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Bradley Beal have withdrawn their name from Team USA participation. Over the weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum removed his name from consideration to wear red, white and blue. 

Sources told The Athletic that Damian Lillard, as well as Cavs forward Kevin Love, are on the fence to join Team USA. Lillard is expected to make his intentions known in the coming days. 

If Lillard doesn’t bow out, the All-Star guard could very well take the reins of Team USA. After being cut from the team’s final roster in 2014 and withdrawing in 2016, Lillard is unquestionably the best talent on the team. The Trail Blazer has cemented his status as a lethal assassin from behind the logo, earned consecutive All-NBA berths and consistently finished top-six in MVP voting over the last few seasons. 

Of the 20 NBA All-Stars this season who were eligible for USA Basketball service, only four remain: Lillard, along with Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, and Kyle Lowry, who is recovering from thumb surgery and aiming for a return for Team USA minicamp. Here's a look at who's still in the mix

Despite losing a number of talented players, Team USA is expected to be favored win a third-straight FIBA World Cup.

Training camp starts on August 5 in Las Vegas and those selected have a busy month filled with practices leading up to the 2019 FIBA World Cup August 31-September 15. 

The Breakdown: Lillard's one bad habit

The Breakdown: Lillard's one bad habit

Damian Lillard just keeps getting better each and every year. It's hard to pick out things to criticize the Portland Trail Blazers star on, particularly after his defensive renaissance in the playoffs this year. Indeed, most of Portland’s failings around him involve the rest of the roster. 

But Lillard isn't perfect, and over the course of this season, there was one thing that he kept doing that really stuck out to me that I think was his worst habit.

So what was it?

The most inexplicable part of Lillard’s game this year was how much he would jump into the air without having a plan on what to do with the ball.
Time and time again this happened when Lillard didn’t have any options on drives as defenses collapsed upon him. It was very obvious when opponents had scouted his favorite tendencies.

This was exacerbated in the playoffs when Lillard teams were not only trapping the Portland guard, but anticipating how he'd react to the trap.

So what can Lillard do to curb this bad habit, and come back better next year? Watch the full video breakdown above.

Portland Trail Blazers' CJ McCollum withdraws from USA Basketball training

Portland Trail Blazers' CJ McCollum withdraws from USA Basketball training

A report coming from Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes indicates that Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has withdrawn his name from Team USA Basketball's events this summer. 

Recently, James Harden also took his name off the roster, as did new Laker Anthony Davis

Team USA starts training camp in Las Vegas on August 5th and those selected have a full August filled with practices and games and eventually the 2019 FIBA World Cup. 

Team USA, led by Coach Popovich, has just five all-stars remaining in their pool of players to select from. Of course, this doesn't count talented players like McCollum who were not All-Stars but certainly could have helped Team USA in international play. The five remaining All-Stars under consideration are:


More to come from Team USA's events this summer as Dwight Jaynes heads to Las Vegas in August to follow Damian Lillard through their first training camp. 

 

The Scoop: So much anticipation for this upcoming Blazers season!

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USA Today Images

The Scoop: So much anticipation for this upcoming Blazers season!

Jamie Hudson and Chris Burkhardt have a full recap of Summer League and the latest on the Blazers offseason in the newest edition of The Scoop livestream brought you by Toyota of Portland.

The Scoop duo took to Facebook to answer questions from Blazers fans on Wednesday evening. It’s apparent that Rip City is eager for the season to get underway!  

Here’s a quick rundown of Wednesday’s show:

The Scoop livestream has always been about fans driving the conversation on Facebook and this week’s Scoop became just that -- between talking about the Blazers summer squad in Vegas to how Damian Lillard feels Anfernee Simons and Zach Collins will both make a big impact this season.

Other Scoop topics include:

-Collins’ big offseason

-Jaylen Hoard impresses at SL

-CJ McCollum’s basketball camp is around the corner

-Lillard and McCollum set to attend Team USA training camp next month in Vegas

-How will Hassan Whiteside fit in?

That and so much more.

Watch the FULL EPISODE right here:

Summer Scoop

Time to recap Summer League and talk about the latest on the Blazers’ offseason! The Scoop brought to you by Toyota of Portland starts now!

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Wednesday, July 17, 2019