The Portland Trail Blazers’ hot start to the 2018-19 season has brought a raft of positive attention from NBA media members. Today Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer pushed the boat further downstream with an extensive article on Portland’s interpersonal chemistry and the difference it’s making on the court.
Uggetti talks about the team staying loose, partly in response to the friendly attitudes of stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, made easier due to the similar ages of nearly everyone on the roster. (He quotes Lillard saying, “We actually like each other,” with italics added.) He also delves into the opinions of newly-arrived guard Nik Stauskas, who waxes poetic about the team:
“We have no drama in the locker room, no beef, no story lines in the media,” Stauskas said. “We’re relatively quiet for having two guys who are star-caliber players. We have no drama compared to the rest of the league.”
“I don’t know if other people get a sense of it, but I get a sense of joy playing with these guys,” he said. “I think we genuinely enjoy playing with each other, and when that’s the case, when guys are actually having fun playing together that results in the ball moving, everyone touching it, everyone being engaged, everyone communicating, and those are things that make a great time.”
Uggetti also quotes Head Coach Terry Stotts, Lillard on the attitude of teammate Al-Farouq Aminu, and more.