Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts says that Robert Covington and Derrick Jones, Jr. will likely start at the forward positions when the 2020-21 NBA season commences. The proclamation came in a press conference with Portland media today, part of a week of limited media availability for the Blazers.
According to Casey Holdahl of the Trail Blazers, Stotts cited minutes restrictions for Rodney Hood as one of the reasons Jones gets the nod at small forward. Hood is completing a year-long recovery from an Achilles tear.
Aaron J. Fentress of The Oregonian paraphrased the coach talking about increased defensive prowess and versatility with Covington and Jones, Jr. on board.
Terry Stotts said better defensive teams have versatility and length on the perimeter and that aspect of the team has been greatly helped by the addition of Covington and Jones. Plus, return of Hood. #ripcity— Aaron J. Fentress (@AaronJFentress) December 1, 2020
Holdahl also reports that, to his knowledge, the Blazers have not seen a copy of the 2020-21 regular-season schedule at this point.
Stotts, like everyone else I've asked in the organization, has not seen even a draft of the 2020-21 schedule. Usually those make it to teams roughly two weeks prior to release, though there's also no dates to work around, so teams probably don't need an advanced look. Still...— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 1, 2020
The unusually late start to the season, plus the precarious negotiations that preceded, make the slower scheduling understandable, but with games starting in 21 days, the league is cutting it close.
We’ll update this post if any more relevant information comes out of the interview. The Blazers plan to make members of the organization available on a limited basis throughout the week.