Dwight Jaynes

FULL FEATURE: Jusuf Nurkic-- Not done yet

FULL FEATURE: Jusuf Nurkic-- Not done yet

Now that we are nearly three weeks in of the NBA suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trail Blazers fans have been eager to find out how their favorite Blazer players are doing.

Our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes caught up with Jusuf Nurkic to find that out and get his thoughts on many of the current happenings in the NBA world.

For one, Nurkic is in favor of play-in tournament for the playoffs should the NBA resume play.

The Trail Blazers center also discussed why his targeted date of Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets was a “perfect” game for him to make his debut.  

And, we didn’t let Nurkic get off the hook that easy. We finally found out if he knew that referee Tyler Ford had kicked his leg while he was laying on the baseline immediately after the gruesome injury.

Nurk says he"can't get over" that incident.

Plus, the Bosnian Beast let’s us know what he has been up to while self-isolating, which he says he is now an expert at since he has pretty much been a homebody for the past year rehabbing his leg.

Oh and, Nurk is like all of us – “Thank god for Netflix.”

Check out the entire Jusuf Nurkic interview above. 

The Morning After: Everything you missed from the Trail Blazers loss in Denver

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USA Today Images

The Morning After: Everything you missed from the Trail Blazers loss in Denver

The young Trail Blazers showed up in Denver on Thursday night.

Despite not having Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Hassan Whiteside, the Blazers' role players still put up a fight against the Denver Nuggets in Portland’s 2019 preseason finale.

Mario Hezonja had his second straight solid game. Just three seconds short of 28 minutes of action, Hezonja made 6 of his 11 shots from the floor, including 3-4 from the three-point line to finish with 18 points. He also had five rebounds and six assists.

But, it wasn’t enough as the Blazers fell to the Nuggets 110-104. Portland finishes the exhibition season with a 2-3 record.

Here is what you might have missed:

Quotables:

“Getting used to everyone around me, getting used to the system, getting used to the stuff that we run, getting used to the defense. It’s up and down – not just for me but for all the new guys. It’s normal. But we have great chemistry. We have a great team. It’s like a brotherhood. We’ve accomplished a lot of great things in a short amount of time. Now everything starts to go for real.” – Mario Hezonja on the Blazers preseason overall

“Mario played well both nights. Tonight, in the first quarter we had a big lineup out there and he was the point guard. We put in some sets where he could drive the ball and make some plays.” – Coach Terry Stotts on Mario Hezonja’s performance vs. the Nuggets

Best of Social Media:

 

 

 

Latest news & analysis:

Instant Analysis from the Trail Blazers preseason finale with the ‘irregulars’

Mario Hezonja helps Trail Blazers turn loss into a positive experience

REPORT: Blazers convert Exhibit 10 contract of rookie Moses Brown to a two-way deal

NBA GMs Survey: Where Damian Lillard ranks among point guards

Trail Blazers in action vs. Jazz, follow us on social for live updates

Trail Blazers in action vs. Jazz, follow us on social for live updates

The Trail Blazers are calling it 'a dress rehearsal' in Utah on Wednesday night.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said this week, Wednesday’s preseason game will be more like a dress rehearsal with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum playing their typical minutes.

Stotts also had this to say about the preseason overall, “I look at it as, ‘How are we playing? Are there more positives than negatives?’ Ultimately, I don’t think preseason wins and losses are an indication of your season.”

As Portland (1-2) gets set to face Utah (1-3) in the Blazers’ first road exhibition game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT, we will have you covered!

Our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes is in Salt Lake City, and since the game is not on TV, you'll want to make sure you follow along on social.

How to Listen to the Game:

Catch all the action on Rip City Radio 620 with Travis Demers and Michael Holton.

Quote of The Week

Damian Lillard on what he expects to get out of Wednesday’s game vs. Utah:

“Closer to a real game. We’re going to play closer to our normal minutes. Obviously, having to face that altitude, seeing a division opponent and they’ve added a lot of guys, first road trip. It’s going to be a good thing for us.”

Quick Links

Here's how the Trail Blazers plan to approach exhibition game vs. Jazz

In preseason action, the Blazers are showing us who they're going to be this year

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little still favoring his left ankle

VIDEO: Whiteside still finding his footing with the Blazers

VIDEO: Impact or not, what do the Blazers see in Mario Hezonja?

VIDEO: At 39, can Gasol contribute to the Blazers front court?

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

Trail Blazers Social Media Roundup: Don't steal Meyers Leonard's AirPods and don't call Damian Lillard a Trump supporter

Trail Blazers Social Media Roundup: Don't steal Meyers Leonard's AirPods and don't call Damian Lillard a Trump supporter

In case you were out and about on this nice Northwest weekend, here's what you might have missed on social media this weekend in the world of the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Damian Lillard responded to a tweet claiming he was a Trump supporter. Needless to say, the thread that followed was filled with entertaining GIFs:

Former Trail Blazer Meyers Leonard apparently had his AirPods stolen...and then found them for sale online! The special branded "Hammer" logo gave them away:

The Godfather Dwight Jaynes is currently traveling Europe and made a stop in Croatia, only to find Damian Lillard jerseys for sale...but Nurkic ones, as expected, all sold out!

The Rip City 3 on 3 Event continues at the Rose Quarter today with final brackets, the 3 point contest and the Slam Dunk Challenge. Head Coach Terry Stotts made an appearance this morning:

Finally, Trail Blazers first round draft pick Nassir Little signed a deal with Nike in recent days and announced the partnership on his Instagram page:

How to watch the 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show

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NBC Sports Northwest

How to watch the 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show

Happy 2019 NBA Draft Day!

We are getting you ready for tonight's draft with TWO shows streaming live on the My Teams app.

Check out the NBA Draft Preview show at 9am right here on your desktop computer or you can also catch all the predictions and Trail Blazers news right here on your phone.  The second show will stream live at noon. 

 

Throwback: Dwight Jaynes 1 on 1 with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen talking Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum

Throwback: Dwight Jaynes 1 on 1 with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen talking Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum

Monday was a sad day in Rip City with the passing of owner Paul Allen. 

The video above is a Dwight Jaynes favorite, a rare 1 on 1 interview with Allen from July 14th, 2013 in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League. 

Allen talks about two players who are very familiar to Blazer fans of present day... Meyers Leonard and his improvement from his first summer league to his second as well as how badly they wanted CJ McCollum in '13 draft. 

Reality Meters: CJ and Dame together? Is Mo a starter?

Reality Meters: CJ and Dame together? Is Mo a starter?

Dwight Jaynes and Jamie Hudson bring you their weekly edition of The Reality Meter and this week's topics are: 

Will Terry Stotts stick with his new strategy of playing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum together with more frequency? (Video above)

And, will Maurice Harkless immediately be a starter once he's back from injury? (Video below)

Video Essay: Payton's pursuit to steal a roster spot

Video Essay: Payton's pursuit to steal a roster spot

TUALATIN – Gary Payton II got an invitation to participate in the Portland Trail Blazers’ training camp this season – but all that did was ensure that he’d have a real fight on his hands.

It’s been a week in camp now for Payton – son of a Hall of Famer and a former star at Oregon State just like the elder Gary Payton. He went undrafted out of college and signed a contract with Houston, which assigned him to its G-League team.

He’s since gotten playing time for the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks but hasn’t found a lasting landing spot. How is he doing in Portland’s camp?

Let’s ask Damian Lillard about that:

“In camp, if you ask me who has had the best camp, I would say he’s in the top two. Top two in the camp,,” Lillard said.

Whoa. What?

“He has been great,” said the Portland captain. “He’s been like GREAT. I’ve been knowing him for a while now. I remember him working out at Merritt College in Oakland and he was tough then – a real good defender, “He’s strong, athletic.  I remembered him for that.

“But when he got here and started playing I was really impressed. He’s always making a big play – not just a bucket, but a steal, an offensive rebound and he’s just always there.”

GP2, as he’s called, says he’s been comfortable in the Portland camp.

“I feel like this has been my best camp out of my three years,” he said. “Every year getting accustomed to different systems has been tough, but I think I’ve picked it up pretty fast here. I just come out and give it all I’ve got.”

But this is an almost impossible situation. The Trail Blazers have 15 guaranteed contracts, including at least five proven NBA guards. There just isn’t an obvious roster spot.

‘At this point, I’ve got to take somebody’s job,” he said. “I come out every day and battle with all the guards. I try to pick up Dame or CJ every day to show Coach Stotts I can guard the elite guards.

“It’s going to come down to taking somebody’s spot.”

And if he doesn’t win a spot here, perhaps he’s caught another team’s eye during an exhibition game.

Can he have an NBA career?

“I expect him to,” Lillard said. “There is definitely a place for him in the league. If we didn’t have 15 guaranteed contracts and I were competing for a job, I would be nervous.”

Most painful interview of my career? No doubt it was "Pistol Pete"

Most painful interview of my career? No doubt it was "Pistol Pete"

I was interested to read about Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins revealing his most painful interview -- former NBA player JaVale McGee.

That got me thinking about my most painful interview and there's never been any question about it. Through all my years in this business one interview still makes me shudder when I think about it, because I've never had this happen, before or since.

As a young reporter at the Oregon Journal I was sent to Memorial Coliseum to do a sidebar story at a Trail Blazer game. I was still covering high school sports in those days and this was my first time getting to go near an NBA game as a reporter. Being assigned to sidebars at that time usually meant interviewing someone on the opposing team after the game.

There was no doubt who I wanted to interview and he was probably my favorite basketball player up to that time -- the great Pete Maravich. I knew, of course, that Maravich was a prickly personality, not given to being cordial to those who wished to speak with him. As I recall, his team lost the game that night, too. I was ready to take the challenge.

But as it turned out, Maravich didn't turn down my request. He didn't snap at me. He didn't swear at me. None of that -- those are things I would get later from J.R. Rider and they were easy to deal with.

Maravich did something nobody has ever done -- he absolutely refused to acknowledge that I existed on the planet earth. He went about his business of getting dressed, packing up a bag and shuffling out of the locker room, expertly acting as if I wasn't even there as I attempted all sorts of questions and conversation-starters! I followed him all the way to the bus trying to get an answer out of him, but not once did he look at me, slow down or even act as if I was as important as a pimple on his backside.

Nothing.

And for somebody doing an NBA locker room for the first time, it was about as embarrassing and humiliating as it could have been. And this is coming from someone who was once called "the devil on earth" by Rider, whom I actually thought I was going to have to fight at one point.

Maravich passed away years ago and by then he'd started to be a little more welcoming to the media's requests. But I'll never forget "Pistol Pete" and his his vacant stare over the top of my head.

It was excruciating.

A national treasure? Get real, Memorial Coliseum is a dump

A national treasure? Get real, Memorial Coliseum is a dump

Now people are telling the good citizens of Portland that Memorial Coliseum is a "national treasure." They obviously haven't been inside the structure. Or had to worry about how much it's going to cost to repair it and keep it open.

Certainly one person's treasure is another person's trash. And as someone who was there in the early days -- when it hosted the Final Four, the Portland Buckaroos and the newborn Trail Blazers -- please believe me when I tell you the building is in horrible shape and even if repaired, is badly outdated. The story in the above link details the kind of money that it will take just to fix all the things wrong with that ancient building -- and how much it will cost just to keep it operating.

And even if all that money is spent, the building will still be a financial loser, have too few rest rooms and a concourse way too cramped to handle even moderate-sized crowds. And yes, I'm fully aware it's a memorial to our veterans.

But come on, let's be real. The memorial part of Memorial Coliseum was a fountain and a wall on the lower level that most people never saw and has been broken for most of its existence. The only reason it was a memorial in the first place was that in the days it was built it was easier to get the package approved by voters if it was a memorial to our war heroes. As a memorial these days, it's more an insult -- given its sad state:

Many seats are broken and there isn't enough leg room for customers. The lines at the rest rooms are a serious bladder test and the concourse is way too small. It's more than a half-century old, for crying out loud. It's uncomfortable and it's dirty -- and it's the kind of dirty that just doesn't wash off; the product of decades of spills, filthy shoes, body odor and assorted other disgusting evidence of its past. Public arenas are a little like cell phones, they quickly become out of date. They just aren't supposed to last this long -- as evidenced by Moda Center next door, which serves to make you even more aware how inadquate the coliseum is.

I don't care how much of a national treasure it appears to be, that's fool's gold. The cost of doing anything with it other than imploding it is way too steep. It's not a tourist attraction or a necessary venue in our city. It's a money pit with glass walls.

And it's about time this city finally comes to grips with that and uses the land for something that would bring value -- even profit -- to the city. A ballpark was a great idea but there are so many other choices -- a sports museum, a park, an entertainment district, a roller coaster. Whatever. Let's build a new national treasure.

And get rid of an aging money pit.