When looking at the Portland Trail Blazers next season, the new additions of rookie Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II get fans excited.
But the return of Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic, the team’s core pair of veterans over the past few seasons, will be the team’s leaders on and off the court next season.
With C.J. McCollum no longer with the Blazers, Nurkic takes the reigns as the team’s longest-tenured player apart from Lillard. Now, the duo look to lead the Portland ship together to the franchise’s first championship since 1977.
“As long as that man is here, we are going to strive to get what we all want, which is a championship,” Nurkic said of Lillard, his teammate since 2017.
The two missed a combined 79 games last season, but if the pair return to full health next season, some damage can be done in Portland.