G League

Signing guard Jaylen Adams means load management for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum

Signing guard Jaylen Adams means load management for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum

There’s a phrase thrown around in the NBA a lot that some people frown upon.

That phrase is load management.

But, there’s not just one way of going about managing a player’s minutes and allowing star players to get rest well into the season.

When big name players sit out a game or two due to ‘load management’ fans usually aren’t happy about it.

That makes sense.

The Trail Blazers; however, have not been a team to sit Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum out of a game for resting purposes.

The Blazers as an organization allow their players ‘load management’ in a different way.

Over the past couple of seasons, Lillard has talked about how he will sit out of certain drills or scrimmages in a practice in order to save his legs for the games.

So the Blazers don't mess with load management during games, but rather practices. 

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

And now with the Trail Blazers heading to Orlando to embark on the eight-game regular season restart, which includes a three-week training camp before games tip-off, Lillard and McCollum will need to try and stay fresh, and ready for the grind as the Blazers hope to make the postseason.

And that’s where signing backup point guard Jaylen Adams comes in.

Days after it was reported that starting small forward Trevor Ariza is opting out of returning with the Blazers and instead committing to a one-month visitation window to see his 12-year-old son, the Trail Blazers signed G-League star guard Jaylen Adams.

No, the Blazers didn’t pick up Adams to fill in for Ariza.

Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey explains it best:

“You have to send out the message to the league that he’s replacing Trevor Ariza, [but] he’s clearly not ‘replacing’ Trevor Ariza,” Olshey told our Dwight Jaynes while using air quotes around the word ‘replacing.’

[RELATED]: Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

And yes, that’s been the hang up for fans.

That’s where there was some confusion -- Why would you add a guard when your starting small forward has opted out of returning to play?  

Again, we need to go back to load management.

“When you look at it, Damian and CJ, play over 40 minutes a game in the playoffs,” Olshey said. “We’ve got a three-week training period down in Orlando including three scrimmages, clearly we’re going to be managing the load on Dame and CJ before they have to go play eight games in the 13 days including a back-to-back, and hopefully a play-in game or two and then hopefully into the playoffs. So a point guard was more critical in terms of load management for our two best players than it was us thinking that we were going to find a player who hadn’t been traded at the trade deadline, who hadn’t been bought out, who wasn’t eligible on Mar. 1, who was going to be capable of replacing our best wing defender and a guy who was shooting 40 percent from three with us.”

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts echoed the same sentiments.

“With Trevor being out, obviously, the guys that we have we felt comfortable with filling some of those minutes,” Stotts said. “And really the thinking was we’re going to have three weeks of practice and we have low numbers, we’ve got plenty of wings, we’ve got plenty of bigs, and to be able to have good practice without overusing Dame and CJ was important. That was the primary concern.”

Anfernee Simons is the only other Trail Blazer besides Lillard and McCollum who saw meaningful time at point guard this season.

“When you look at our roster right now we have a hole at backup point guard,” Stotts added. “If something were to happen with Dame or CJ there’s a hole there and we need to be able to fill that in the event that that happens as well.”   

Thus, Adams will undoubtedly be helpful at the one position for practices and scrimmages.

The 24-year-old went undrafted in 2018 after playing college ball for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. He earned co-Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2018.

In August of 2019, Adams signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. During training camp with Milwaukee, he was cut and assigned to the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.

Adams averaged 21.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game for the Herd during the 2019-20 season, while earning All-NBA G-League First Team honors and was also the G-League MVP runner up to Wisconsin Herd's Frank Mason III.

And now he will be the primary candidate to assist in load management for Portland's two star guards. 

How Jalen Green is changing the game forgoing college to join G-League

How Jalen Green is changing the game forgoing college to join G-League

"Why go to college and learn a game that is archaic?" 

That is what Talkin' Blazers co-host Channing Frye said on the latest episode of the podcast, and it makes perfect sense. 

The college game is basketball at its core, but the way the game is played is far different than the NBA. 

Said Frye, "I think college basketball itself is a nice island, but it's not connected to the mainland. You can't play college ball and say, 'Oh, man, this will translate to the NBA.' It just doesn't. The game is faster. The court is wider. Guys are more athletic."

Perhaps that is why Jalen Green, one of the top prospects in the class of 2020, has decided to skip the NCAA experience. Instead, Green is joining the NBA and G League's professional pathway program. 

According to ESPN, the program "will pay elite prospects $500,000-plus and provide a one-year development program outside of the minor league's traditional team structure."

Green will be the first elite prospect to enter the pathway, and it could change college athletics forever. If Green succeeds, then we could see more high school athletes choose this route to the NBA in the future.

Not only does it make financial sense, but it makes sense because the prospects will actually learn the game they want to play professionally. 

If you're a guy like Jalen Green, why would you practice playing ball the wrong way? Go somewhere where you're gonna get looked at by NBA level players, NBA level scouts, on a consistent and daily basis. They're not teaching you college basketball. They're teaching you NBA basketball with other grown men. - Channing Frye

So why go to college and play an archaic version of the game? The more you think about it, the more the new G-League pathway makes sense. 

Green may be the first, but it's very likely he won't be the last. 

Trail Blazers transfer Moses Brown and Jaylen Hoard back to G League

Trail Blazers transfer Moses Brown and Jaylen Hoard back to G League

Friday morning, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that they have completed the two-way transfers of center Moses Brown and forward Jaylen Hoard back to the G League’s Texas Legends.

It was on November 9th that the two rookies were recalled from the G League to join the Blazers.

Players on two-way contracts can spend up to 45 days on NBA rosters while spending the rest of their time in the G-League. The Blazers had initially assigned both Brown and Hoard to the G-League's Texas Legends back on October 27th.

[RELATED]: Moses Brown makes his NBA debut

In two appearances with Portland this season, Brown played a total of five minutes, recording three rebounds. Hoard appeared in one game and finished with one rebound in one minute of action.

The Texas Legends (1-2) will visit the Iowa Wolves on Saturday.

Trail Blazers' Gary Trent Jr. makes it rain in the heart of Texas

USA Today Images

Trail Blazers' Gary Trent Jr. makes it rain in the heart of Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, including Gary Trent Jr.’s box score.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard made it pour from 3-point land with six triples and a career-high 37 points in the Texas Legends 135-127 loss to Long Island Nets on Wednesday night. He also added five rebounds and three assists for the G League team.

The Trail Blazers rookie just keeps on climbing in points. On Wednesday night, he surpassed his previous career-high of 34 points set on Jan. 29.

Trent Jr. has been explosive in his G League stint, averaging 32.2 points per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field in five games played.

The 37th pick out of Duke was assigned to the G League on Jan. 20 after appearing in just seven games for Portland. Trent Jr. averaged 2.0 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.1 assists in 4.7 minutes of play in those seven appearances.

Trail Blazers sending Caleb Swanigan to the G-League

Trail Blazers sending Caleb Swanigan to the G-League

The Trail Blazers are sending big man Caleb Swanigan down to the G-League:

From the Trail Blazers press release: 

The Portland Trail Blazers have transferred forward Caleb Swanigan to the NBA G League’s Texas Legends, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. 

Swanigan had a 14-game stint in the G-League last season highlighted by a 28 point, 15 rebound, 5 assist game (highlights above). That stretch was a positive experience for Biggie, who averaged a double-double while playing for the Canton Charge averaging 14.2 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Situated behind Jusuf Nurkic, Maurice Harkless (when healthy), Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins, there just isn't room for Swanigan in the rotation right now.

By sending Swanigan to the G-League, it makes sense to get the young guy solid minutes and keep his game fresh rather than having him sit at the end of the Trail Blazer bench. It has not been reported how long his time with the G-League will be. 

Swanigan has only played in 16 of the 37 Trail Blazers' games so far this season and up until Sunday's blowout vs. the 76ers, he had not logged more than seven minutes in a game in over a month. 

Trail Blazers transfer Wade Baldwin IV to NBA G League’s Texas Legends


Trail Blazers transfer Wade Baldwin IV to NBA G League’s Texas Legends

PORTLAND, Ore. (December 6, 2017) – The Portland Trail Blazers have transferred guard Wade Baldwin IV to the Texas Legends of the NBA G League, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

A two-way roster player signed on Oct. 19, Baldwin IV underwent successful surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right thumb on Oct. 25.

Baldwin IV averaged 3.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 12.3 minutes in 33 games (one start) during his rookie 2016-17 season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Vanderbilt, Baldwin IV (6-4, 200) posted averages of 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.33 steals and 28.2 minutes in 33 games (22 starts) with the NBA G League’s Iowa Energy last season.