Drew Eubanks played an important role for the Portland Trail Blazers this season. He was a key bench contributor behind Jusuf Nurkic for most of the year, then was given the starting spot after Nurkic’s season ended early. Throughout it all, Eubanks proved why he fits perfectly into the archetype of a consistently good backup center.
Per Game Stats:
— 20.3 minutes per game
— 6.6 points per game
— 5.4 rebounds per game
— 1.3 assists per game
— 1.3 blocks per game
— 0.5 steals per game
— 64.1 percent from the field
— 38.9 percent from three (on 0.2 attempts per game)
— 66.4 percent free throw percentage
— 5.70 block percentage (7th in NBA)
— 15.2 rebound percentage
— 3.3 screen assists per game
Coming off the Bench
Eubanks is just about as close as you can get to being the quintessential backup center. He provided solid, rebounding and interior defensive play when Jusuf Nurkic needed a break.
On the offensive side of the ball his screen-setting and interior presence allow him to be a good fit alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. Eubanks averaged 3.3 screen assists per game this season, making him a potent threat in the pick-and-roll. He rolls hard off of screens and becomes a threat to dunk.
Late Season Starter
Eubanks saw increased minutes as the Blazers’ season wound to a close. He proved to be a rebounding threat and great defender around the rim. He showed that he can contribute as a starter when called upon. He was a key piece for the late season Blazers roster and helped players like Shaedon Sharpe and Skylar Mays find easy opportunities on the offensive end due to his screens.
He also took some defensive pressure off of the younger players in the rotation over that stretch. His shot-blocking as the last line of defense allowed for more mistakes at the point of attack. Perimeter defenders were able to funnel the players they were defending into the paint, only to be met with the shot-blocking force that is Drew Eubanks.
His contract proved to be very team friendly after he signed a one-year extension with the Blazers last offseason. With his free agency looming, he showed exactly why teams should sign him to a contract for next season.
His late season play may have earned him a look from other teams now that his contract is up. On the other hand, the Blazers are probably going to be much more incentivized to keep him for the same reasons. His play backing up Nurkic was valuable for the Blazers this season, and they would likely be glad to bring him back on a similarly team friendly deal if the opportunity presents itself.
Eubanks proved that he can get decent minutes as a backup on a team hoping to win games. He is a high-energy player that can swing the flow of the game with a couple momentum shifting plays whenever he gets on the floor. From powerful dunks, to swatting shots away from the basket, Eubanks is someone that can get the Moda Center crowd on their feet.
His play as a starter also showed that he can fill the gaps left by injuries almost seamlessly. Overall, he had as good of a season as could have been expected for a 33-win Blazers team.