The Scoop: Happy Trail Blazers Day!

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The Scoop: Happy Trail Blazers Day!

The Scoop livestream presented by Toyota of Portland is back for the summer! On Wednesday afternoon, Jamie Hudson took fan questions live on Facebook and made sure to get all of Rip City up-to-date on all the happenings surrounding the Trail Blazers.

The two big topics of the day:

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".

Plus, it was announced on Wednesday that Damian Lillard has been named the winner of the NBA’s prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award. The award is given annually to an NBA player, coach or staff member who has shown “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Other Scoop topics include:

-Damian Lillard working out with former Blazer Tim Frazier

-Jusuf Nurkic’s rehab progress

-Trail Blazers vacations

-Pre-draft workouts for Portland

Watch the FULL EPISODE right here:

Scoop Summer Show

Happy Trail Blazers Day!!! The Scoop brought to you by Toyota of Portland is back for the Summer! Let’s get you up-to-date on all the Rip City happenings and NBA reports right now on The Scoop…

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The best of Trail Blazers social: The whole world loves Moe Harkless

The best of Trail Blazers social: The whole world loves Moe Harkless

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, it may also be in the algorithm of artificial intelligence. As our friends over at Pinwheel Empire pointed out, the facial beauty network at South China University used its special software to rate the attractiveness of starters in the NBA.

While he may not be a member of the Blazers anymore, SCU's math said Maurice Harkless was the most attractive starting small forward in the league last season. In fact, he was one of the most attractive starter in the entire NBA.

Harkless responded simply,  "the people have  spoken."

But enough of Moe and his beautiful smile. Let's talk about the current Blazers. As is custom in 2019, many of the Trail Blazers players posted on social media this week. From proud dads, happy rookies, and happy birthdays, the Blazers players took to their favorite apps to talk about it. Here are some of the best Trail Blazers social media posts of the week.

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Dame Jr

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Mood

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Looking back: Anfernee Simons top plays from NBA Summer League

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USATI

Looking back: Anfernee Simons top plays from NBA Summer League

LAS VEGAS - Damian Lillard is the now of the Trail Blazers, but the future of the Trail Blazers might be in his protege, Anfernee Simons. 

We've seen plenty of potential from the young guard, who dropped 37 points on Sacramento in the regular season finale. 

He also had a great summer league until an ankle injury prematurely ended his time in Las Vegas. 

Simons led the Blazers in scoring with 35 points in 25 minutes in Portland's third game of summer league. He was in position to tie the game vs. the Jazz, but instead injured his right ankle on his way to the rim on an attempt to hit a game-tying dunk or layup. Simons would sit out the remainder of the summer league due to the injury.

Simons would end summer league averaging 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in three games played

Summer League Head Coach Jim Moran has this to say about Simons:

“It was fun to watch him run the team... I was happy to see the growth from him, the confidence, picking his spots, getting guys involved. I thought he did a great job. We put the ball in his hands for the last play of the game when he got hurt, that’s the level of trust we have with him. He’s grown a lot.”

For now, let's enjoy the NBA's video of Simons' best plays from summer league:

Why didn't the Portland Trail Blazers utilize the fastbreak more in 2018-19?

Why didn't the Portland Trail Blazers utilize the fastbreak more in 2018-19?

The Portland Trail Blazers were not a good fastbreak team last year. They ranked just 18th in pace, getting out in transition 11 percent of the time and scoring 1.08 points per possession. That low scoring number ranked them in the bottom half of the league.

Their offense in total was of course very good. The Blazers had the third-best offensive rating in the league last season, and the eighth-best points per possession.

Like most teams, Portland's critical statistics — shooting percentages, assist percentages — went up in transition compared to its regular offense. But most importantly, players like Moe Harkless and Jake Layman thrived appeared to thrive beyond their regular production when they were on the break.

That begged the question of whether the way to utilize all of Portland’s assets was to push the pace.

In this week's video, we take a look at how guys like Layman, Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Meyers Leonard were excellent transition players for the Blazers this year. We also compare how Evan Turner, Seth Curry — and even Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — may have had an effect on Terry Stotts' decision not to push the pace.

Watch the full video breakdown on Portland's transition game by clicking the video above.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shuts down Shannon Sharpe’s contract criticism

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shuts down Shannon Sharpe’s contract criticism

FS1’s Shannon Sharpe thinks Damian Lillard shouldn’t have stayed in Portland.

On the “Undisputed” this week, Sharpe was overly critical of the All-Star guard’s four-year, $196 million supermax contract, saying Lillard will be quickly forgotten if he doesn’t win a championship.

“When’s the last time Dame Lillard took less than the max?” Sharpe said. “So, what Dame Lillard is gonna be is a guy that’s probably gonna make $400 million with no titles.”

He continued: “He’s gonna be one of the richest players in NBA history with zero titles,” Sharpe said. “Nobody remembers the guy who made a bunch of money playing sports, only if you won titles Dame. And if you don’t believe me, ask Kevin Garnett. At the end of the day, if you play a sport, it’s all about titles.”

Lillard caught wind of Sharpe’s criticism of his contract and fired back with this response.

At 28, Lillard still has plenty of time to win a championship with the Trail Blazers, but he has been consistent in his message: he’d rather be a good teammate and person than a ring chaser.

This offseason, Portland added key pieces like Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore to aid Lillard and the Trail Blazers in their journey for an NBA championship. 

From Summer League: Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin hands out off-season grades for the Trail Blazers

From Summer League: Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin hands out off-season grades for the Trail Blazers

We caught up with Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin at NBA Summer League to get his off-season grades for the Trail Blazers.

Helin is currently the lead NBA writer and managing editor at NBCSports.com.  

To start, he gave his grade on the Trail Blazers selecting Nassir Little at pick No. 25.

“This was a top 10 level talent… Give him a chance to develop.”

Helin likes the pick, but wants Blazers fans to keep in mind Little is going to need time to develop.

My Grade: I give the draft pick an ‘B+’ because with Little’s athleticism and the way the Blazers coaching staff has been able to develop shooters, I think Little could have a bright future in Rip City.  

For Helin’s grade on Little check out video here:


Next up, Helin gave his grade on Portland acquiring free agent veteran wing Kent Bazemore.

Spoiler alert: Helin is very excited about “this upgrade at a position in need.”

“Bazemore is loved everywhere he’s played.”

My grade: For Bazemore I have no doubt he’s going to be a great locker room guy and a consistent guy on the court. I give this free agent get an ‘A’. Bazemore will bring the energy every night. He’ll just probably have to adjust to playing big minutes on a winning team. Yeah, you bet he is excited for that adjustment.   

For Helin’s grade on Bazemore check out video here:

And lastly, Helin’s grade on the multi-team trade that now brings Hassan Whiteside to Portland might surprise you. He is not as high on this trade as some other national media members have been.

“It’s a placeholder trade until [Jusuf] Nurkic comes back.”

My grade: I give the trade an ‘A+’ since Portland finally got their guy they wanted three years ago in free agency. Plus, after listening to Whiteside at his introductory press conference on Thursday you can tell he was in need of a change of scenery. I see Whiteside fitting into coach Terry Stott’s system very well and heck, he’s going to be surrounding by shooters. “We got shooters,” to quote Whiteside himself. 

For Helin's grade watch here:

The Scoop Live from Las Vegas: Wrapping up NBA Summer League

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NBCS NW

The Scoop Live from Las Vegas: Wrapping up NBA Summer League

LAS VEGAS - That's a wrap on the 2019 NBA Summer League for the Portland Trail Blazers. After a consolation bracket win, the Blazers finished with a 2-3 record. 

Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little both missed time due to injuries but Gary Trent Jr. shined throughout the week. 

Jamie Hudson gets you caught up with the latest edition of The Scoop, live from the Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas, presented by Toyota of Portland

Summer League Scoop live from Vegas

That’s a wrap on Summer League for the Blazers. Let’s chat about tonight’s game and SL overall! The Scoop brought to you by Toyota of Portland starts now!

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Friday, July 12, 2019

Brian Wheeler will not return to radio for Trail Blazers for '19-'20 season

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Trail Blazers

Brian Wheeler will not return to radio for Trail Blazers for '19-'20 season

Today the Trail Blazers, via a release on their website announced that Brian Wheeler, the long time radio play by play voice of the Trail Blazers will not return to the airwaves next season. 

"Brian Wheeler has been an integral part of the broadcast team and Trail Blazers family since 1998 and his voice is synonymous with all the many great play-by-play calls over that 21-year span," said McGowan.  "We thank Brian for his contributions to the franchise and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. "

Wheeler took a leave of absence for the 2019 playoffs

No announcement has been made in terms of a replacement for Wheeler on the radio side. Travis Demers filled in for Wheels during the playoff run. 

More to come as information becomes available. 

2-way contract player Jaylen Hoard finding his way on Trail Blazers summer squad

2-way contract player Jaylen Hoard finding his way on Trail Blazers summer squad

LAS VEGAS – Thursday marked the fourth Summer League game for the Portland Trail Blazers. It was a hard-fought game between the Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Portland was down by as many as 14 points, but despite their fight back mentality, the Blazers were unable to complete the comeback. Portland drops to 1-3 after losing to OKC, 92-87.

The Blazers were undermanned with point guard Anfernee Simons out due to a right ankle injury and rookie forward Nassir Little going down in the first quarter with a left shoulder injury. Little did not return to action.

With Little out, forward Jaylen Hoard was given more of an opportunity. Hoard has been showcasing his aggressiveness on both ends through the Blazers’ first four games in Vegas.

Hoard signed a two-way contract with the Blazers after going undrafted out of Wake Forest.

Blazers assistant coach, and Summer League head coach, Jim Moran has been very pleased with Hoard’s defensive effort.

“Jaylen’s been really good. I think he’s unique defensively because he can switch multiple positions,” Moran said.

“We’re still trying to get him to be more aggressive on the defensive end. And, offensively… just trying to figure out where he fits in the offense, where he’s gonna get us plays. But I’ve been happy with his overall effort for the last four games,” Moran added.

The 20-year-old led the Demon Deacons in rebounding and ranked second in scoring during his freshman 2018-19 season. He finished the year averaging 13.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 31 games. He also recorded seven double-doubles.

Hoard is all about bringing the energy.

“I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good. I just come out there give energy, rebound hard and just control what I can control which is playing hard,” Hoard said.

“Hoard was also very complimentary of his teammates, saying, “We’ve fought really hard through these past few games. Obviously we didn’t get the results we wanted… We’ve played great defense and we’ve really tried to compete as hard as we can.”

[RELATED]: Jaylen Hoard brings versatility to the table

Through his first three Summer League games, Hoard averaged 8.3 points on 58 percent shooting from the field.  

The Blazers small forward admitted there are a couple of big differences from his college ball days to playing against NBA caliber players.

“Guys are much more athletic, quick, fast, you really have to be able to be real conditioned and get up and down a lot,” Hoard said.

[RELATED]: Jaylen Hoard ready to pour his heart out with Trail Blazers

In Thursday’s loss to OKC, second year player Gary Trent Jr. led the way with 22 points.

Trent Jr. has been pleased with the rookie’s performance so far.

“He’s been great,” Trent Jr. said of Hoard. “When he first got here, I really didn’t know too much about him. I know he works hard and he plays every possession. So, he has a bright future if he just stays with it, continues to work hard he’ll be successful,” Trent Jr. said.

Hoard and the rest of the Blazers Summer League squad will play a consolation game on either Friday or Saturday. The schedule will be set late Thursday night.  

Hassan Whiteside shows love for Portland and is excited about his 'fresh start'

Hassan Whiteside shows love for Portland and is excited about his 'fresh start'

LAS VEGAS – ‘There’s no place like home,’ – a prominent quote from the movie Wizard of Oz that automatically makes you think of Dorothy wearing her ruby red slippers. 

For the newest Trail Blazer Hassan Whiteside there’s no place like his new home, Portland, OR.

Whiteside was either channeling his inner Wizard of Oz or he was just showcasing his style on Thursday evening in Las Vegas while wearing sparkly ruby red shoes.  

The Trail Blazers held Thursday’s introductory news conference at the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of UNLV before Portland tipped off its fourth Summer League game. Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts were in attendance.

The Blazers are excited to finally have their guy they wanted three years ago after the four-team trade for Whiteside with the Miami Heat became official on Thursday.

“Hassan’s a player we’ve pursued multiple times in free agency. We’ve chased him through trades with the Heat. We finally find some traction… We’re thrilled to have him,” Olshey said to start off the new conference.

Maybe it was Whiteside’s Blazer red shoes and shirt or maybe it was his infectious smile that gave it away, but there is no doubt Whiteside is very much looking forward to this new chapter with Portland.

“What makes me excited about joining, is just the movement and how much they did in these last couple of years, going to the Western Conference Finals… And they have two guards, guys that you have to guard once they get out of their car in the parking lot… Those guys are big time shooters,” Whiteside said.

“I think I describe it as a perfect situation. You ever been on the beach, just chilling and drinking a nice water looking out at the sunset? That’s how I feel,” Whiteside continued.

Whiteside joked ‘yes, a water,” after saying the beach comment.

The 30-year-old is already bringing the laughs.

With Trail Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic sidelined for the foreseeable future, both Stotts and Olshey acknowledged how important the trade to acquire Whiteside was to this year’s team.

Stotts also said he plans to “put [Whiteside] in a lot the same situations that we put Nurk.”

For his career, Whiteside holds averages of 13.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

Before Whiteside was formally introduced in Vegas, he spent a couple of days in Portland.

Whiteside said he is already feeling the Rip City love.

“It’s so nice. People are so nice in Portland,” Whiteside said. “I heard so many welcome to Portlands… They really embrace me. It feels like a close-knit town that really loves the Blazers. I tell people all the time this is the only arena where you can come out in the lay-up line and when you go through warm-ups, you look into the stands and it’s like 60 percent of the fans are already waiting on you.”

There has been a lot of chatter about how Whiteside’s situation with Miami went south over the last couple of seasons and that maybe he has been a bad locker room guy.

To that, there is one thing Whitside would like his new fan base to know:

“Just how much I care…”

“I think a lot of stuff, if we did have a problem, it’s because we were losing and as a competitor you always want to win,” Whiteside said. “You know, I feel like it was a down year since we didn’t make the playoffs and that does something to you in the offseason.”

“You at home watching other teams play, you want to be out there. I think that’s what I really want them to know that how much I care about working and getting better. This a fresh start and realistically I really think that this team is on the verge of doing something really special,” Whiteside added.

Trail Blazers fans in attendance of Summer League showed their love to Whiteside by asking to take pictures with the Blazers big man and telling him how excited they are to have him in Portland.

Whiteside can now rock those red shoes while saying, there’s no place like home in Portland, OR.