The Portland Trail Blazers’ Big 3 of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic will finally be reunited in Orlando after more than a year since their last game together. How Nurkic looks after recovering from his unfortunate leg injury is one of the biggest storylines in Orlando, but early reports of Nurkic are glowing. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report has ranked the Lillard-McCollum-Nurkic trio as the 13th best out of the remaining 22 teams, citing unknowns of how Portland’s big man will look after such a long layoff:
Pairing a healthy Nurkic with Lillard and McCollum, two of the game’s best from-scratch scorers, opens up all sorts of offensive doors without risking a defensive trade-off. Whiteside is a stout rim protector but can get burned by simple fakes and screens if he’s not patrolling the area directly beneath the basket.
Consider the Blazers’ placement a hedge. Last year’s version of Nurkic gives them a top-10-trio case, but he hasn’t played in over a year. It may take time for him to regain his feel—more time than Portland will have if it doesn’t make the postseason.
Portland’s Big 3 ranks ahead of Dallas (14) and below Miami (12). Other Western Conference trios ahead of the Blazers belong to the Nuggets (11), Jazz (10), Thunder (9), Pelicans (8), Rockets (4), Lakers (2) and Clippers (1).
What do you think of Portland’s trio ranking? Let us know in the comments.