Gary Trent Jr.

Young guys getting a chance against Maccabi Haifa

Young guys getting a chance against Maccabi Haifa

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.

Local Connection:

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. 

Are the Titans and Blazers best friends?

Are the Titans and Blazers best friends?

The Tennessee Titans have a large following in Oregon thanks to their starting quarterback, former Oregon Ducks star Marcus Mariota. But the rest of the roster might be working on connecting with the fan base in Rip City. How?  By showing off their love for the Trail Blazers. 

A few weeks ago star cornerback Malcolm Butler showed up to Nissan Stadium rocking a Damian Lillard jersey. 

Fans loved seeing the NFL star showing support for Lillard, but the Titans didn't stop there. 

On Sunday, the team continued to show love for all things Rip City when rookie defensive back Amani Hooker showed up rocking a Gary Trent Jr. jersey. 

Trent probably wasn't the next jersey you expected to see, but as Erik Bacharach pointed out, Trent and Hooker grew up close to each other in Minnesota. Maybe Trent will show up to Moda in a Titans jersey soon. 

But really, the only question we have is, who is rocking the Jusuf Nurkic jersey next week? 

 

Hassan Whiteside is constantly amazed at his new Trail Blazer teammates

Hassan Whiteside is constantly amazed at his new Trail Blazer teammates

Hassan Whiteside sat on a bench after practice and was raving about his new Trail Blazer teammates when he actually interrupted his own narrative and pointed to Damian Lillard shooting on a practice court on the other side of the team’s practice facility.

“Do y’all see this?” he said to a teammate walking in front of him. “He’s shooting left-handed threes off his left foot and he’s making ‘em!”

Indeed, Lillard drilled three in a row from the corner, imitating a shot James Harden missed in an exhibition game two nights ago.

“Dame and CJ are unbelievable talents,” Whiteside said. “They never cease to amaze you.”

Whiteside is one of those people with an easy smile who seems constantly amazed. And he continued to rave about the talent around him on the Portland roster.

“It’s been amazing, just watching these guys work,” he said. “I’m glad we’re all on the same team. Everybody has surprised me. Just seeing how they come out here and work and get better.

“(Gary) Trent’s practice yesterday was unbelievable. He was controlling the game, knocking down every three, dunking the ball… I didn’t know much about him when I got here. Zach (Collins) has been playing really well. He’s a lot more athletic than I thought. He can shoot, too. Skal (Labissiere) is knocking down threes and blocking shots. Everybody here is exceeding my expectations."

And what about the veteran, Hall-of-Famer-to-be Paul Gasol?

“Talking to him, he’s a great guy,” Whiteside said. “We’ve always been going against each other and it’s so different to be able to sit down and talk to him. He’s got so much knowledge. There are so many big guys on this team.”

Whiteside sat out Thursday morning’s practice but said he expected to be on the floor for Thursday night’s workout. He “tweaked” his left ankle on the first day of camp and has been taking it easy since then. But he insists it isn’t a problem.

“I just came down on it,” he said. “I’m OK, though. It’s just day-to-day. Not a serious thing. I’ve sprained my ankle enough times that I come back pretty fast.”

Trail Blazers ready to learn from legend Pau Gasol

Trail Blazers ready to learn from legend Pau Gasol

The smiles, the handshakes, and the hugs: Trail Blazers media day is truly a back-to-school type of feeling.

Just like with every media day, it’s a chance for the media to catch up with the players, hear about their offseason, their goals, and any expectations they may have set for the year.

Over the course of about four hours of interviews there were a couple of common themes throughout.

After each player finished talking at the podium to the masses of the media, the player then made their way into the Fountain Room in the Memorial Coliseum for a special NBC Sports interview.

[RELATED]: Warm championship dreams highlight Trail Blazers' chilly media day

The rotational players were congruent on two things:

This team has the capability of winning a title. Pau Gasol is a walking legend.

With seven new faces added to the Trail Blazers roster, this media day was all about getting to know the new guys and the feeling surrounding the team.

For veteran Anthony Tolliver, who has played for 11 different NBA teams, he has a gut feeling about this roster.

“This is the first time I’ve gone into the season expecting to compete for a Championship,” Tolliver said.

It was evident that this Blazers squad has championship on the brain.

It was also apparent, they know just the guy to help them get there.

“Pau knows what it takes," as far as winning a championship goes, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.

“He commands the respect of his teammates just because of what he’s done in his career,” Stotts added.

[RELATED]: Lillard: Strength is in the culture

But for the young Blazers, it has taken them a bit to adjust to seeing the future Hall of Famer on a daily basis.

Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons know how fortunate they are to be entering their second year with Gasol as their mentor.

Trent Jr. has a master plan to learn from Gasol while the team is on the road.

“I’m trying to go sit next to him on the plane, so I can pick his brain apart. Hear about every story about Kobe Bryant, my favorite player. So, hopefully when we get to the plane I’m gonna sit with him and that’s going to be your seat for the rest of the year,” Trent Jr. said with a big smile.

Trent Jr. was born in 1999.

Simons was born in 1999.

Gasol was drafted in 2001.

The 39-year-old would be happy to know that the 20-year-old, Trent Jr., still thinks Pau is hip and happening.

“He’s joking around with guys, he’s being cool. He’s being funny. He’s still young and hip. He’s still got it,” Trent Jr. said with a smile.

Simons is also looking to pick Gasol’s brain, but he had to get over how surreal it is to be on the same team.

“It was crazy the first time I saw him in the locker room. I was like this is Pau Gasol for real, like it’s crazy!” Simons laughed.

It’s a little different story for Hassan Whiteside.

“We were always battling on the court. So, it’s like so different. Like, seeing him in a friendly environment, where it’s not always so much competition like it was in the past,” Whiteside said.

Whiteside joked about how that friendly nature of Gasol goes away once he hits the court.

That friendly nature seems to be firmly rooted in Gasol. He is happy to be in that mentor role, in fact he prefers it.

Once Gasol is healthy again after undergoing surgery on his left foot last May, Gasol said he hopes to bring “good decisions, good basketball IQ, create a good flow, good chemistry on the floor… And leadership off the floor as well with the young guys.”

Gasol wants to be, “a guy that [players] can ask advice and look for support and guidance to a certain degree.” Gasol went on to say, “I’ve seen quite a bit, I won’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen quite a bit.”

The humble and friendly nature of Gasol was exuded at Trail Blazers media day. His teammates exuded their respect for him as the 2x time NBA champ looks to chases another ring.

This time with Portland.

NBARookieWeek: Rookies dancing at Trail Blazers Fan Fest is the best

NBARookieWeek: Rookies dancing at Trail Blazers Fan Fest is the best

The Trail Blazers Fan Fest has become a fun tradition for Rip City to watch the Blazers intra-squad scrimmage and get their first look at the roster.

A fan favorite just might be the Blazers rookies taking center court and dancing in front of their teammates, the coaching staff, and all the Blazers faithful.

The Trail Blazers tweeted out a great throwback video on Friday in honor of the NBA’s Rookie Week.

It’s hard to decide who has the best moves and who has the worst moves, but one thing is certain:

It’s always fun watching a young Damian Lillard, or a young Zach Collins, or a little bit younger Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr strut their stuff.

This year’s Fan Fest is set for Sunday, October 6th.

To help tip-off the Trail Blazers 50th Anniversary Season, this year’s Fan Fest will be held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

You can catch all the action of Fan Fest including the rookie dances on the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers, NBC Sports Northwest.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. Fans can download their free digital tickets online at trailblazers.com/fanfest.

Looking back: Gary Trent Jr.'s top plays from NBA Summer League

Looking back: Gary Trent Jr.'s top plays from NBA Summer League

Back in 1995, a young rookie by the name of Gary Trent made his debut for the Portland Trail Blazers. Now, in 2019, his son is looking to make a big jump and crack the rotation for the very same team his dad made his name with. Gary Trent Jr, the 37th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, played in just 15 games for the Blazers last season but hopes he can increase his role this season.  

Now in his second season in the NBA, junior hopes to continue to build upon his game and become an impact player for Portland. Last week in Las Vegas he had a chance to showcase some of his early offseason work.

In five games at the MGM Resorts Summer League Trent Jr. averaged 20.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.

Perhaps none was more impressive than the 31 point outburst against the Rockets where Trent Jr. went 7 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Summer League Head Coach Jim Moran said of Trent Jr.:

“I know he’s a scorer, I know he can shoot, he’s a talented player, but I think as a coach you’ve just gotta keep working on their weakness and I think right now just getting him to buy in more on the defensive end... But, I’m happy for him. He had some good games out here."

He had some good games indeed, and some incredible plays to boot. So let's take a look back and enjoy the NBA's video of Trent Jr.'s best plays from summer league:

Trent Jr. looking to crack rotation, coach Moran looking for Trent to improve on defense

Trent Jr. looking to crack rotation, coach Moran looking for Trent to improve on defense

A group text message quickly became a place to bond for the summer Trail Blazers.

This year, all eyes were on second-year player Anfeernee Simons, who was just named to NBA Summer League second-team. But when Simons suffered a sprained ankle in the final seconds of the Blazers’ third game and missed the rest of the tournament, the focus shifted to second-year player Gary Trent Jr.

The 20-year-old quickly picked up the slack with Simons out and he made sure the team camaraderie was strong.  

Portland finished Las Vegas Summer League play by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 99-84 on Friday night. Trent Jr. led the way with 28 points and eight rebounds, as the Blazers wrapped up Summer League with a 2-3 record.

The overall record may not have shown how close-knit the Blazers summer squad became in such a short period of time.

“It was a great Summer League team. The way they put the team together. It was great. In the Summer League group chat we have, everybody was joking… You could tell we gelled together quick, just it couldn’t translate on the court, but it was still fun, it was great to meet those guys,” Trent Jr. said.

The Blazers shooting guard not only took charge off the court, but he also averaged 28.4 points on 41% shooting from the field to go along with 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

Portland’s Summer League head coach, Jim Moran spent a majority of Trent Jr.’s rookie season working with him day in and day out.

Coach Moran is eager for Trent Jr. to make a leap on the defensive end.  

“I work with Gary every day, so he had 28 tonight, but I look at the defensive stuff. So, for me when I watch the film I’m going to be focused more on the defensive mistakes,” Moran said.

“I know he’s a scorer, I know he can shoot, he’s a talented player, but I think as a coach you’ve just gotta keep working on their weakness and I think right now just getting him to buy in more on the defensive end... But, I’m happy for him. He had some good games out here,” Moran added.  

Coach Moran knows Ternt Jr.’s defensive mindset is a working progress. Right now it’s all about repetition for the young Blazer. 

“Every time I go to talk to him about defense, he’s shaking his head going, ‘I know, I know,’ so we’re on the same page about it, it’s just a matter of committing to it every day,” Moran said with a smile.

“The opportunity to lead and just play,” Trent Jr. said was the biggest positive takeaway for him personally. “All last year, I didn’t really play that much, so just getting the opportunity to get on the floor, get up and down, being able to get a foul, being able to knock down a jump shot, it’s a great feeling."

It was evident by watching all five games played in Las Vegas that the game has slowed down for the Blazers shooting guard.

“Just being patient, I know where to get on the spot where I can get my shot off within the offense. I know the plays pretty well now, so just… be patient, let the game come to me,” Trent Jr. said.

As the son of former Trail Blazer Gary Trent Sr. now sets his sights on cracking the rotation for the 2019-20 season with the Blazers, he knows he must have an impressive training camp in the fall and make sure to “control” what he can on and of the floor.

“Really just control, what I can control. Just continue to work, if the opportunity comes I’ll be ready,” Trent Jr. said.

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

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.  

Anfernee Simons gets 35 points and an injured ankle in summer-league loss

Anfernee Simons gets 35 points and an injured ankle in summer-league loss

LAS VEGAS – Everything was going very well for Anfernee Simons Tuesday night in Cox Pavilion. He was leading the Portland Trail Blazers in scoring with 35 points in 25 minutes, hitting six of his seven shots, and had the ball in his hands with a couple of seconds to go and his team trailing Utah by a basket. He was in position to tie the game.

But instead, he ended up in a prone position, under the Portland basket after slipping on the way to the rim on an attempt to hit a game-tying dunk or layup.

And with Simons flat on the floor, surrounded by coaches, players and trainers, that was a lot more important than the final score. The second-year guard suffered an ankle injury but was headed for further examination and unavailable for comment.

The injury was not believed serious but there was nothing official at the time of this writing.

The Trail Blazers lost the game 97-93, but Simons was the story – as he’s supposed to be. He’s being counted on to be a rotation player for Portland this season after seeing little action last year. He showed off a lot of his arsenal against the Jazz, hitting six of his seven three-point shots, 13-18 overall, and scoring on drives, a dunk off a lob and assorted other attempts.

“I thought he played really well,” summer league coach Jim Moran said. “I took him out in the first quarter and I probably should have let him go the whole quarter. I still want him to be more assertive and more vocal. Running the team, he needs to be more communicative. But overall, I think he had a really good game.”

Gary Trent Jr., coming off a game when he made seven of his eight three-point goals, saw things even out a bit, hitting 4-15 overall and 2-7 from three for 12 points.

The Blazers’ first-round pick, Nassir Little, made two of seven shots, 0-4 from three-point range and scored four points, with his college coach, Roy Williams looking on from a seat near the Portland bench.

“He’s the most explosive player I’ve ever coached,” Williams said during a halftime interview.