The Portland Trail Blazers played their first 2019 NBA Summer League game today. During the second quarter, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey joined the broadcast crew to discuss his team. The most interesting part of the conversation came as Olshey fielded questions about his newest center, Hassan Whiteside. Olshey exulted over the acquisition, then termed it particularly critical as incumbent center Jusuf Nurkic is not expected to return until at least February. That’s as close as the Blazers have come to defining a timeline for Nurkic, who fractured his leg in March of this year.
Here’s the video and a transcript of Olshey’s comments about Whiteside and Nurkic.
You make a move, trade for Hassan Whiteside. What does that bring to the table here, Neil?
It brings a ton of rim protection, paint presence on both ends of the floor, his rebounding. Obviously Nurk won’t be back probably until sometime in February, maybe. We need to at least hold serve if not make some progress. Hassan’s been a player we’ve coveted. We’ve tried multiple times to acquire him by free agency or trade in the past. We were just fortunate that the way the math worked out on this four-team trade, we were able to get Hassan and secure our paint and have an anchor there until Nurk gets back. And then kind of the same two-headed monster we had last year with Enes Kanter and Nurk. We really want to kinda start playing a little more bully ball in the paint with our bigs.
Like the old days. The old Memphis teams.
Exactly! Open up the jumpers for all you guys out on the perimeter.
You can find the recap of Portland’s first Summer League performance here.