Portland Trail Blazers rookie center Duop Reath has taken advantage of the opportunity presented to him.
Reath, a 27-year-old rookie from South Sudan, recorded his first NBA double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s win against the Brooklyn Nets. His play as of late has impressed his teammates in the locker room, including veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon.
“I think he has a great feel on the game,” Brogdon said after Sunday’s game. “He’s able to make the right plays at the right time, he knows what shots to shoot, what shots to turn down. And then as far as being a big and being a little bit undersized with the five position, he just plays position defense, position rebounding. He knows what spots to be at, he’s a good nose for the ball so he’s a high IQ guy.”
It remains to be seen how much Reath’s role will change when Deandre Ayton returns to the lineup. Ayton has been dealing with a knee injury for the past 2.5 weeks and has been sidelined since Christmas. He’s rejoined the team after being out, but now he’s on tonight’s injury report listed as doubtful.
But even when Ayton returns, it would be a surprise to see him play his typical 31.7 minutes per game. He’ll have to ease into it, and the Blazers have a strong solution in Reath who can eat minutes as Ayton works his way back.
Reath and the Blazers are back in action tonight against the New York Knicks. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT.