As the newest Trail Blazers sat in front of a computer screen to be introduced over a zoom press conference live from Orlando ahead of Friday’s contest against the Magic, there was a mixture of Raptors media and Blazers media.
It had been just over 24 hours since Powell first got the call about being traded from Toronto to Portland for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
He says he was talking to his agent just “30 seconds” before the trade went down and up to that point there hadn’t been any trade chatter involving him.
So when the news broke, he said, “it was crazy” and “it was a shock.”
In 42 games (31 starts) with Toronto this season, Powell averaged a career-high 19.6 points (49.8% FG, 43.9% 3-PT, 86.5% FT) to go with 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.12 steals and 30.4 minutes.
The 6’3” guard will make his Trail Blazer debut against the Magic, starting at shooting guard with Damian Lillard out due to a left knee contusion.
While he doesn’t know anyone on the team real well, he does have plenty of ties to the Trail Blazers.
And, after getting over the initial shock of the trade, Powell says it was all about figuring out how he would integrate into the current Trail Blazers roster.
“Trying to figure out how I was going to fit in,” Powell said. “The good thing is that CJ McCollum is really close to my trainer and so they were texting back and forth about the different things, trying to get me acclimated as quickly as possible.”
Plus, three years ago, Powell says he worked out with Anfernee Simons in Vegas when Simons was getting ready for his pre-draft workouts.
Powell described himself as a gym rat that is ready to be an impactful two-way player.
The Blazers are also looking forward to what he brings on the defensive end.
“He’s a really good two-way player and it’s kind of what we need,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “Obviously, his shooting numbers speak for themselves, but what he can do defensively on the perimeter is something that we really need and value.”
And yes, Powell's offense speaks for itself.
He has become one of the NBA’s most efficient three-pointer shooters.
Per Cleaning the Glass, Powell has attempted 255 three-pointers this season. Most of those attempts have occurred from the corner, in which he has converted on 53 percent of those. Overall, he is shooting 43.9 percent from behind the arc this season.
But as Powell looks to keep things simple, especially in his first handful of games with Portland, he is eager to play with some of the Trail Blazers stars.
Powell is not only looking forward to playing with a future Hall of Famer in Carmelo Anthony, but he can’t wait to get up and down with the Trail Blazers backcourt.
Lillard, Powell, McCollum – that sounds like a lethal three-guard lineup.
From the sounds of it, Powell is going to fit in very nicely in Portland.
“I’m a gym rat that loves to get better and you have to pull me off the court. So I’m excited to be a part of that.”