As the Portland Trail Blazers prepare for the first-round series with the defending Western Conference champions, they are hopeful that center Jusuf Nurkic will be able to return from a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg.
Nurkic sat down with David Aldridge of TNT to talk about his role with the Trail Blazers and the curse of the Portland center.
Nurkic raved about Damian Lillard’s leadership on the team.
“I’ve never kind of experienced to have leadership like him. To just, to be there and somebody there to push you on the court. It doesn’t matter how you played, bad or good. He always tells you to push through that. Even if I have a 20-20 (game) and foul trouble the next game, to have a guy like that, it means to me a lot.”
He also expressed confidence in his role with the team.
“I know my time is going to come, especially if you work hard every time, it’s going to pay off. I believe in that, and I just keep waiting for my chance, and when chance comes, I’m supposed to be ready. And I’m really happy I come in a right place. I think I’m a perfect fit here, and how it show right now, how it looks. Everybody understands me, like a player. We’re still learning together.”
When asked about the curse of Portland centers, Nurkic lamented the pressure placed upon him, but dismissed the notion that it will affect him.
In twenty games with the Trail Blazers, Nurkic has averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals. The team has gone 14-6 in games that he has appeared in. You can read Aldridge’s full Q&A with Nurkic, here.