Two exhibition games are in the books with two more to go for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland is now 1-1 after not getting out to the same aggressive start on Sunday, in comparison to Friday’s win over the Kings.
But it’s apparent after watching the Blazers in an arena with no fans, the chatter on the defense is loud and clear and the effort is there.
The emphasis on defense for this 2020-21 season has been stated by players and Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts multiple times over the past two weeks of training camp.
By adding elite defensive players with length and versatility on the wing, while inserting them into the starting lineup is something that has the Blazers believing that they will definitely be better defensively this season.
Just ask Rodney Hood.
“I think personnel wise it helps – adding Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr,” Hood said following Sunday’s game. “Personnel helps a lot. Sometimes schemes may work, but if you don’t have the personnel to do it, it may not work.”
Trail Blazers center, Jusuf Nurkic, who made his preseason debut Sunday along with Hood, echoed those same sentiments.
Nurkic also mentioned that the bigs will be up on the perimeter a bit more this season.
And with a guy like Covington who is not just a solid one-on-one defender, but who is also known for his team defense, he’ll be able to rotate quickly on the wing.
Thus, the Blazers can use that to their advantage.
And from the sounds of it, they plan to do just that.
Hood explained that the Blazers won’t always have the bigs drop back in pick and roll situations like they have done in recent years.
Hood also mentioned that how the Blazers defend the pick and roll will depend on matchups, but he added that being more aggressive on the ball is an emphasis ahead of the regular season tipping off.
The Trail Blazers knew last season's defense wasn't something they wanted to replicate. Now, they have the personnel to set the tone and hope it will become infectious.
Buckle up, Rip City. Defensive changes are coming.