Trail Blazers

Norman Powell gives us a glimpse of his defensive mindset

Trail Blazers

On Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers made a move to send away Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to Toronto for shooting guard Norman Powell.

And on Friday, the newest addition for the Blazers will take the floor to assist CJ McCollum as Damian Lillard tends to a sore knee.

Most Blazer fans who are familiar with Powell know that he is a very efficient offensive player.

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This season for the Raptors, Powell is averaging a career-best in points per game at just under 20, a career in threes per game with just under three a game, and a career-best in three-point shooting at 43.9 percent.

But during his first presser with the Blazers, The Athletic's Jason Quick didn’t want to ask about his offense.

He wanted to get to know Powell and his mentality on defense, where he also thrives in the NBA.

And Powell dove right in on what makes him a great defender. 

The biggest approach to defense is the mentality, that you are not going to let your opponent score. You got to be able to sit down and be physical, and not make anything easy. I think that has been the biggest component that helped me to break through in the league early on in my career when I was having to guard some of the best players in the league when I was out in Toronto. In my rookie and my second year in the playoffs, I was guarding Paul George, LeBron and them. I am all about being physical and making sure I am making it difficult as possible for them.

Norman Powell

Powell then elaborated that he gets his defensive mindset through playing hard.

He says it actually stems back to his UCLA days in college, where head coach Ben Howland showed him the importance of using his skills to play hard defense.

“I give my praise to the defensive side of the ball to Coach Howland, Powell said. “When I got to UCLA, he had a big defensive mind and it really helped me unlock the physical tools and gifts that I had coming out of high school, where everyone was mainly focused on offense and how to score and things like that. I learned how to play that side of the ball and use my ability on the defensive end when i was in college with Ben Howland.”


Powell will be able to display both his offensive and defensive ability in tonight’s game against the Orlando Magic.

We'll see how he does in his first showcase with his new team.