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Jusuf Nurkic Aims For All-Defensive First Team

Jusuf Nurkic is aiming to parlay his role as Portland’s defensive anchor into postseason recognition, he told digital reporter Casey Holdahl.

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is hoping his strong defensive play will secure him a place on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team. Nurkic has made waves by adding a three-point shot to his arsenal this preseason, but the big fella is hoping that his work on the defensive end will get him recognized.

Nurkic explained his goals to Trail Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl.

“I want to be first-team defense because I think people overlook a lot of things,” said Nurkić. “That’s why I’m going to probably be even more aggressive on defense this year. There’s going to be times it’s not going to look like it but I definitely approach the game defensively more aggressive this year.”

Since his arrival in Portland, Nurkic has served as the Blazers’ anchor on defense. In 79 regular season games last season, the 24-year-old big man averaged 1.4 blocks per game.

Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Robert Covington, Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday all made the NBA’s All-Defense First Team last year.