Trail Blazers basketball is back!
Well, preseason is here.
Portland tips off its first exhibition game of the season while hosting the Sacramento Kings Friday.
It will be the first look for Trail Blazers fans of new additions Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., and Harry Giles in a Portland uniform along with the return of Enes Kanter.
Both teams will most likely be without one or two of their centers.
And this means the Blazers will probably not face their former teammate Hassan Whiteside.
Kings head coach Luke Walton said earlier this week that Whiteside will likely miss the team’s preseason opener against the Blazers on Friday due to a mild right calf strain that the 7-footer has been dealing with this past week.
Whiteside signed a one-year minimum contract with the Kings this offseason after averaging 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks for Portland last season.
For the Trail Blazers, Zach Collins will not play Friday as he continues to rehab his left ankle. Collins is expected to return to game action in mid-January. Portland will also be without big man Jusuf Nurkic Friday night, who still needs to clear COVID-19 protocol with enough negative tests since just returning to the Portland market this week. Plus, the Blazers will not play Rodney Hood just yet as he continues to work on his conditioning and getting more comfortable since returning from a torn Achilles injury one year ago.
Besides adding Whiteside, the Kings bring back a good majority of their roster from last year.
With a long term deal inked, the Kings are excited to see what star point guard De'Aaron Fox can bring this season and beyond. Sacramento is also hopeful that Marvin Bagley will be able to stay healthy this season.
“There’s one thing Trail Blazer fans may be interested in watching in the nationally televised game against Sacramento -- the first look at newly acquired center Harry Giles.
He is one of the most intriguing players this team has added in several seasons. His career has been disrupted by serious injuries, but before major knee problems his potential was once compared to that of LeBron James.
Giles was first drafted by the Trail Blazers and quickly shipped off to the Kings in a trade for Zach Collins.
His potential among basketball scouts is legendary. One of them told ESPN’s Chad Ford that he was “the best high school prospect since LeBron James.
But that was before he tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013 while playing for a FIBA USA team. A year later, he tore the ACL in his right knee and missed his entire senior season of high school basketball. He limped through one college season at Duke before being drafted by the Kings, but he still seems to flash the skill level that once made him one of the top young players in the country.
“He's had two good days (of practice),” Coach Terry Stotts said Wednesday. “He's a talented young man.”
Starting center Jusuf Nurkic did not arrive in Portland until Sunday, so will not be eligible for contact practice until Friday and likely will not see action in the first game. Zach Collins is not ready for game action yet, so Enes Kanter and Giles will probably be the only centers in uniform Friday night.”
The Blazers are a 5-point favorite against the Kings Friday, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about the Trail Blazers first exhibition game of the year --
- Coach Stotts said he doesn’t expect anyone to play more than 20 minutes in the first game
- Stotts said he’s starting lineup will most likely be:
- Damian Lillard
- CJ McCollum
- Derrick Jones Jr.
- Robert Covington
- Enes Kanter
- Sacramento hasn’t played since August 13 when they went 3-5 in the bubble and didn’t make the playoffs
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -5 (-110) -- Kings +5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Friday, December 11
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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