After missing several games due to a hamstring strain, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Anfernee Simons made an appearance during the matchup with the Houston Rockets. While many were happy to see him on the court, others in Rip City were left wondering: where did Gary Trent Jr. go? According to Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest, nothing nefarious. Head Coach Terry Stotts said it was simply a matter of rotations.
“I had to make a choice between him and Anfernee in the second half,” Stotts explained. “I figured I was only going to play nine in the second half and I chose Anfernee, but with Anfernee being healthy, I’m going to have to make those decisions.”
Hudson notes Trent Jr. spent much of the second half on the stationary bike while Simons took to the court. It gave point guard Damian Lillard the opportunity to see how aggressive Simons can be.
“I thought he did a good job,” Lillard said. “I told him in the locker room, I liked how aggressive he came out. Usually, when guys miss a few games or miss some time and they’re trying to get back out there, they can be a little bit passive and not want to be more assertive than they should and just try to walk on eggshells and do what they feel like the coaches or the team would want him to do, but he came out, he took shots, he was aggressive, he made some good passes, he got some deflections, got a foul or two.”
Due to the shortened preseason, it is likely that Coach Stotts will continue to tweak the rotation, so look for more Gary Trent Jr. minutes soon.