The NBA regular season has arrived and it is time to see if the Trail Blazers’ busy summer will bear fruit. From star guard Damian Lillard to 20-year-old center Moses Brown, Blazer’s Edge is delivering a rundown of each player on the roster.
This post focuses on the developing rookies and their potential role in the Blazers’ future. Stay tuned for all five parts to our 2019-20 season preview.
Moses Brown | Center | Age: 20
Projected Role: Undrafted out of UCLA and an afterthought on the Rockets’ Summer League squad, Moses Brown’s NBA future looked bleak before heading to the Blazers prior to training camp. The former five-star recruit’s size combined with Portland’s injury woes to earn him a two-way contract, which allows him to split time between the G League and NBA. At 7’1”, Brown has the size that teams covet at the pivot, but his game will need to be refined in the development league.
Bold Prediction: Brown was coach Steve Alford’s coveted recruit at UCLA, and the young big fella appeared to be exactly as billed to start the year. Brown recorded three consecutive double-doubles to open the season, but his production quickly synced with the Bruins’ slide, leading to Alford’s removal after just 13 games. If Brown can land with a stable G League team, he has all the tools to average a double-double.
Jaylen Hoard | Forward | Age: 20
Projected Role: Like Brown, Jaylen Hoard landed in a less-than-ideal situation in college. Known for his superb work in the margins, Hoard was forced out of his comfort zone as a primary option at Wake Forest. Now with the Blazers, Hoard can get back to hustling for rebounds and defending multiple positions. For the 2019-20 season, the 20-year-old forward will make his biggest mark in the G League.
Bold Prediction: Hoard’s blend of ball handling and rebounding are ideal for G League teams looking for frontcourt versatility. Depending on how the Blazers approach the trade deadline, Hoard’s two-way deal could easily be converted to a traditional contract to fill a vacant roster spot. His fresh legs could provide a boost in the dog days of the season.
Nassir Little | Small Forward | Age: 19
Projected Role: Scooped up by the Blazers late in the first round, Nassir Little possesses the most obvious path to legitimate playing time of all the rookies. His on-ball defense was impressive in Summer League and that trait fills a need for Portland on the wing. Due to his unproven track record on offense, Little’s playing time should consist of limited defense-first assignments.
Bold Prediction: Little has said all the right things and enters his professional career with a chip on his shoulder. If Little continues to buy into the Blazers’ culture and focuses on making an impact on defense, he will push for meaningful minutes in coach Terry Stotts’ rotation.
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