The newest Portland Trail Blazer Dalano Banton enjoyed a solid debut with the franchise in Saturday’s 93-84 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Portland acquired Banton from the Boston Celtics at the NBA Trade Deadline for a highly protected future second-round pick. While the third-year guard didn’t shoot particularly well against New Orleans (5-14 on FGs, 1-5 on 3s), Banton impacted the game by attacking the basket with his long 6-foot-8 frame and initiating the offense. In 25 minutes, the most minutes Banton has played in a game since November 2022, he finished with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and two turnovers.
Afterward, the newest Blazer discussed how he felt his debut went with reporters in the locker room.
It definitely felt good, just trying to find a place to impact the game, try and get guys in their spots, just trying to find a way, and it’s new team here, just trying to find what we’re doing. [I’m] definitely trying to figure it out, a couple plays there I didn’t know where I was at or what I was doing, so definitely trying to get with coaches and make sure I’m up to speed, but it was great playing with a bunch of young guys on the team. It’s fun, it’s great, just gotta come up with the win.
For those unfamiliar with Banton’s game, the 24-year-old from Canada explained what he likes to do on the court.
I feel like I have a feel for the game, just being able to try and make plays, whatever that is, I think that’s a big part of my game and just trying to get guys in their spots, man. I’m not really trying to do too much, I just want to try to help impact winning, whatever that is, I feel like I came from an organization where that was big, so just try to impact that and put that into place here, but definitely just trying to impact winning.
Banton’s best play of the game came at the 1:31 mark of the third quarter when he took the ball coast to coast for an and-1 slam that got the crowd up. Banton’s free throw gave Portland the lead at 63-62. In the locker room, Banton said he “definitely” felt the energy from the Moda Center after that bucket.
The crowd is great, definitely love the fanbase here. [I] played here so [I] know how engaged they are and how they support the Trail Blazers, so definitely excited to play in front of the Trail Blazers fans. It was great tonight to get a little feel of that, hopefully we can come out with the win next time.
Elsewhere in the interview, Banton discussed what he learned as a member of the Celtics, showing gratitude for his time in Boston. He also explained what the Trail Blazers have told him since he arrived in Portland.
They welcomed me with open arms, definitely telling me be aggressive, take advantage of the opportunity that I have, so for now it’s that. Just definitely looking forward to getting all the guys back, we have a lot of young talent that’s out, so just waiting for that, but definitely was a great night.