The Trail Blazers will start the 2018-19 season with a familiar trio leading the way in the frontcourt. Most of the team’s resources this offseason were put towards guard play, meaning Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Jusuf Nurkic will get a bulk of the minutes yet again.
According to Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report, that unit ranks as the 23rd best frontcourt in the NBA. Fromal notes that the low ranking might not be from a lack of ability, but rather a lack of opportunity. Here are their numbers when taking into account the court presence of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum:
Lillard on and McCollum on: 6.5 net rating in 456 minutes
Lillard on and McCollum off: 17.1 net rating in 87 minutes
Lillard off and McCollum on: 1.5 net rating in 41 minutes
Lillard off and McCollum off: 32.2 net rating in five minutes
While the sample size is small, Fromal says that maybe Portland’s frontcourt players “need to be considered more than ancillary pieces supporting the Rip City backcourt.”
It’s worth noting that Harkless is still recovering from a late-March knee procedure and not 100 percent available in practices yet.
As for the rest of the rankings, the Chicago Bulls landed one spot behind the Trail Blazers, while the LeBron-less Cavaliers find themselves one spot ahead.
You can see Fromal’s entire list at Bleacher Report.