The Trail Blazers welcome Israeli team Maccabi Haifa to Moda Center on Thursday for the team's second game of the 2019-20 preseason.
Thursday's game will be all about the young bucks. Coach Stotts is resting stars CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard, and newcomer Hassan Whiteside for load management, while Pau Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic remain sidelined due to injury. This means we can plan on a healthy dose of the young guys and the new faces.
"I know it said 'load management,'" said Stotts, "it's more about giving them an opportunity to rest. Just like playing those guys 16 minutes or 17 minutes, just managing their minutes in the preseason. It gives the young guys a chance to play a little bit more."
For those young Blazers, it's a chance to see the floor for more than just garbage minutes. It's a chance to get out, run the offense, and play an entire game of basketball. It's true on the job training that they just can't replicate at practice.
Said Stotts, "Even though Anfernee (Simons) and Gary (Trent Jr.) have been with us a year, they haven't had an opportunity to play meaningful minutes, except for in that Sacramento game...It's an opportunity for them to play a game. It's important time for them.
It won't just be Simons and Trent. Camp invitees like Keljin Blevins and Moses Brown will get a rare chance to show off their skills in hopes of making an NBA roster, in Portland or elsewhere.
Regardless of who is on the floor, it should be an entertaining night at Moda Center.
Hear from coach Stotts right here:
Blazers Injury Report:
Damian Lillard (load management), CJ McCollum (load management), Hassan Whiteside (load management), Jusuf Nurkic (left leg), and Pau Gasol (left foot) are out for Thursday’s preseason game.
Maccabi Haifa's Brandon Rush played nine seasons in the NBA. He entered the league in 2008, originally drafted No.13 overall by the Trail Blazers. He was traded to Indiana on draft night for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu.
Maccabi Haifa center Roman Sorkin played for the Oregon Ducks from 2014-18. Sorkin played in 74 games over those four seasons, averaging 2.5 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
Maccabi Haifa, the Israeli pro team that is Blazers’ exhibition opponent tonight, is 0-19 against NBA teams over the past decade, including losses to Portland in 2014 and ’17.— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) October 11, 2019
Nobody beats the Haifans 20 times in a row, however.