On two separate occasions this season, Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Chris Paul has contributed to his team getting the better of the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite those two victories, Paul had an interesting assessment of the Blazers, as highlighted by Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest. After the game, he had a simple message: Don’t judge this Portland team just yet.
Easy as it is to forget, the Trail Blazers have played 36 games this season, missing CJ McCollum for 23 of them and Jusuf Nurkic for 24 of them. In gauging what the 127-121 win over a similar Playoff-type team meant, Paul noted that evaluating this Blazers team without their two other stars would be a bit premature.
“Way too early. Don’t get it twisted, y’all got to realize that Portland out there without CJ McCollum and Nurkic, know what I mean?” Paul said. “For us, it’s about us, we got to play our game and whoever’s out there, we have to compete and win the game, but that’s not they team.”
Portland’s problems are glaring, but it’s likely that the NBA world learns more about what this team is truly made of in a few weeks, when they (presumably) return to full health. Paul has gotten to see both sides of the spectrum during his career. He’s often been among those most victimized by teams that couldn’t stay healthy. The 11-time All-Star also got a chance to see what this Blazers team could do with even close to full health just five years ago in a postseason matchup.
You can read the full story from Wisniewski through this link from NBC Sports Northwest.