The Portland Trail Blazers may not be off to the greatest of starts in the 2019-20 NBA campaign—sitting at 2-2 entering Wednesday’s tilt with the Oklahoma City Thunder—but there’s still plenty to be optimistic about. One of those positive aspects has been the hot start to the season for a pair of role players, which was a topic of discussion on this week’s episode of Blazer’s Edge Radio.
As part of the “Three Questions” segment of the show, the hosts were asked who the most surprising player has been for the Blazers so far. Host Ryne Buchanan chose Kent Bazemore, while co-host Sam Arnold selected Skal Labissiere. There’s a good case to be made for both in the early going.
Bazemore is clearly the more proven player at the NBA level, and his defensive intensity has quickly made him a fan favorite in Rip City. Known as a prototypical “Three and D” player, the fact that he hasn’t been able to find his stroke from beyond the perimeter hasn’t deterred him from being an impact player offensively. He’s been able to contribute as part of the team’s “playmaker-by-committee” in the second unit, and has also demonstrated that he can even create his own shot if the situation arises.
Labissiere, on the other hand, didn’t seem primed for a big role this season. However, after an impressive pre-season, along with injuries to Pau Gasol and Zach Collins, he has been pressed into the spotlight—and performed admirably. He has looked extremely comfortably on the offensive end of the court, both in the paint and even out to mid-range. The fact that he’s been up to the task when his number has been called should give fans hope in spite of the recent injuries.
Who has surprised you most this season? Let us know in the comments and be sure to tune-in to Blazer’s Edge Radio every Tuesday at 12 p.m. PT on XRAY FM. You can access the show at 107.1 FM in the Portland area or worldwide online at xray.fm.
Catch an archived version of this week’s show here.