The NBA features plenty of amazing big men, but the Portland Trail Blazers don’t have any of them. That’s the general conclusion of The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks, ranking the best frontcourt combinations in the Western Conference. The first spot on Tjarks’ list goes to the Golden State Warriors, anchored by Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic of the New Orleans Pelicans come second. You have to scroll down to 13th to find the Trail Blazers. Even then Tjarks cites Zach Collins as their best hope, over recently-signed center Jusuf Nurkic.
The Blazers signed Jusuf Nurkic to a four-year, $48 million extension in the offseason, but their center of the future is Collins, the no. 10 overall pick in last year’s draft. Unlike Nurkic, who can’t venture outside the paint on either end of the floor, Collins is a 7-footer with a developing 3-point shot and the quickness to switch screens. A pairing of Aminu, a prototype 3-and-D wing, and Collins would give Portland more floor spacing and defensive ability in the frontcourt than they have ever had in the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum era. They just need Collins, who turns 21 in November, to grow up fast.
Tjarks caused a stir earlier this week when he ranked the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum 5th among Western Conference tandems.