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Blazers’ Drew Eubanks Brings the ‘Nasty’ Effort Portland Needs

Jason Quick writes about the scrappy backup center — and how his teammates can follow his lead.

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers backup center Drew Eubanks has been excellent for the team thus far, despite pedestrian statistics. The Trail Blazers don’t care that he averages 6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game; that’s not what keeps him on the court.

Eubanks is a dogged defender, a hard-nosed, gritty, rough-em-up type that no one likes to play against. And that’s what head coach Chauncey Billups likes most about him, per The Athletic’s Jason Quick:

“He’s got some nasty in him that I loooove,’’ coach Chauncey Billups said recently. “He’s getting in a dustup almost every game with somebody. He’s one of those guys that people probably hate playing against, and it’s only because he is competing very hard.’’

Eubanks has been a fierce competitor tracing back to his high school days. According to Quick, a younger Eubanks would throw elbows at defenders that picked on him, “trying to f-- them up.” He was gangly and an easy target. Although he’s filled out now, he hasn’t entirely changed his approach to the game.

“Once I got better at basketball, I just always kept that nasty, that ‘don’t-touch-me attitude,’” Eubanks said. “I didn’t like being pushed around then. I didn’t like being pushed around in college. And I don’t like being pushed around here.”

The Trail Blazers need more of that from him and, frankly, from others as well. Portland is on a two-game skid, staring down the barrel of an upcoming road trip without Damian Lillard (calf) for the next game or two. The team needs “nasty” and they need it now.

Eubanks, currently 6’9,” 245 pounds, has come a long way from the skinny freshman (6’5,” 180 pounds) in Troutdale who used to get swarmed and swatted. He’s the one who swarms. He’s the one who swats. And the Trail Blazers are fortunate he’s on their side.

Read Quick’s full piece, here.