The NBA’s restart in Orlando will provide new opportunities for Trail Blazers players that were further down the depth chart prior to the coronavirus-induced hiatus. With Trevor Ariza out of the rotation, first-year forward Nassir Little has a legitimate shot at obtaining meaningful minutes.
According to The Athletic’s Jason Quick, Little has focused on improving his outside shooting in hopes of solidifying a place in coach Terry Stotts’ rotation. In a conversation with Quick, Little revealed that he has taken over 10,000 jumpers since play halted in March. Outside of repetition, Little also received some inspirational advice from star point guard Damian Lillard.
“He [Lillard] was basically telling me if I miss, it doesn’t matter, shoot the next with confidence,” Little said. “You can’t be scared to mess up or quote/unquote fail. That’s only going to hold you back. From that point on, I really ran with that.”
“It turned out to be a pivotal moment for me,” Little said. “It was a great conversation, one that really resonated with me and changed my whole outlook. Ever since then, honestly, I’ve just been different.”
Little, who attempted just 59 three-pointers through 48 games this season, has improved enough to capture Stotts’ attention. The Blazers head coach spoke with Quick about Little’s confidence from beyond the arc.
“His shot is looking really good,” Stotts said. “In the two, three months since March 11, he has probably gotten up as many or more shots than anyone on our team. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
Little and the rest of the Blazers resume action this week when Portland’s scrimmage schedule tips off on Thursday against Indiana.
You can read Quick’s full feature on Little at The Athletic (subscription required). If you have not listened to it already, Little covered his shooting improvements when he joined the Blazer’s Edge Podcast earlier this month.