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Blazers Demonstrate Culture in Trust

Seerat Sohi of Yahoo Sports looks at how Lillard and McCollum lean into their teammates and how the addition of Carmelo Anthony could test the culture the team has developed.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It is a known fact that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have helped to create a team culture in Portland that is unique in the league, and Seerat Sohi of Yahoo Sports takes a look at how the culture that the Trail Blazers hold dear could be tested by the addition of Carmelo Anthony. Sohi explains how the current climate in the Blazers’ locker room translates on to the court in a recent game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Culture is hard to discern. It is developed and sustained behind closed doors, and its marks are often beyond description: a sympathetic tone, a well-placed pat on the back, the right meeting called at the right time. Mostly, it comes down to empathy and awareness, principles that translate to the court more often than you’d think.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, two scoring guards, already share the ball with each other plenty. But when they realized Simons had it going, they both let go of the throttle. Simons brought the ball up half-court and scored twice. Each time, Lillard and McCollum ran up the floor and filled lanes instead of hanging back and motioning for a pass.

Sohi points out that Lillard and teammate McCollum are central to this team culture.

“I think Portland has an amazing culture, an amazing locker room and guys who are willing to teach and willing to help, and I think Dame and CJ are two people who do that,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “There’s an advantage to playing a ton and being in the G League, but there’s also a disadvantage when you’re not around.”

As Sohi notes, it remains to be seen what role Carmelo Anthony will fill in Portland’s locker room, but the speculation is unlikely to die down soon.

You can read the rest of the piece here.