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Blazers’ Whiteside Fan of Two-Big Approach Once Nurkic Returns

Hassan Whiteside revealed that he is optimistic about the idea of sharing the court with Jusuf Nurkic,

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jusuf Nurkic’s return to the Trail Blazers’ lineup appears imminent after a year-long injury absence. Re-inserting Nurkic to the rotation is set to trigger shifts in coach Terry Stotts’ game plan. At the top of the list of changes: the role of current starting center Hassan Whiteside.

On Friday, Stotts explained to NBC Sports Northwest’s Jamie Hudson that he hasn’t looked that far ahead.

“To be honest, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” Stotts said of how his big man rotation will look with Nurkic back. “I’ve been really focused on whatever game we really have coming up. With Nurk setting a target date of the 15th, you know that’s not confirmed. That’s hopeful. He’s still got some benchmarks to reach, but we’re hopeful that will happen, but we’ve got a lot of basketball before then.”

Whiteside delivered a more detailed response on the subject. On the same day that Suns center Aron Baynes dropped 37 points thanks to nine three-pointers, the former Heat big man discussed the idea of a lineup that featured two paint-oriented pivots.

I think it’ll be good. Melo posts up 80% of the time, so it’s not going to be a spacing issue or anything. I think we’ll be a force out there. Even when we’re in a game, I think we can play minutes together and then we can rotate in and out.

Barring a setback, Nurkic is expected to return on March 15 against the Rockets. The Blazers return to action against the Kings on Saturday.

You can read Hudson’s full post at NBC Sports Northwest.