The Portland Trail Blazers are finding a key role for backup center Drew Eubanks.
With role players like Eubanks, identifying a spot where he can be a specialist is huge, and as ESPN’s Zach Lowe points out, that’s switching on pick-and-rolls.
Over three-plus anonymous seasons with the Spurs, Eubanks injected his brief stints with a certain violent flare. He dunked with rage, and swatted at shots as if the ball had done something bad to his family.
The Portland Trail Blazers saw something more — including an ability to switch against pick-and-rolls.
Eubanks switched on only 59 total picks last season in San Antonio, per Second Spectrum. That changed the minute Portland snapped him up on a 10-day contract.
Eubanks is switching on 12 pick-and-rolls per 100 possessions this season — a hair more often than Bam freaking Adebayo, the switch king. Only five rotation players top that figure: Nicolas Claxton, Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Usman Garuba, and Larry Nance Jr. Portland has allowed a miniscule 0.88 points chance when Eubanks switches onto ball handlers.
Eubanks is fine in more conservative schemes too; opponents have hit just 51.7% of shots in the restricted area with Eubanks as the closest defender — one of the half-dozen or so lowest marks in the league among rotation bigs, per NBA.com. Portland has sunk to 23rd in points allowed per possession, but that has nothing to do with Eubanks. He has proven a solid find.
Offensively, Eubanks is averaging 5.8 points and four rebounds per game this season.
You can check out the rest of Lowe’s 10 Things, including some film analysis on Eubanks here.