Last March 2019, Jusuf Nurkic suffered a gruesome injury similar to the broken leg of Paul George. For the big man, the injury looked like a career-ending disaster. Fast forward to July 31, Nurkic looked armed and ready to help the Blazers in its Playoffs hope.
Considering his injury, he should have been eased into the rotation to get his legs below him. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the luxury of time. Instead, the team had to fight day after day to salvage an almost lost season. Now, more of Nurkic is being asked for. Otherwise, they may face an early exit from the Playoffs.
The Portland Trailblazers are heavily short-handed. Outside of Lillard, McCollum, Trent Jr, Melo, and Nurkic, the team doesn’t have another scoring option off the roster. In other words, the bench of the Blazers is unreliable. Once any of the five players sit down, they get buried in a bad scoring deficit.
As such, more of Nurkic is being asked for. Similar to his outing against the Lakers today, Nurkic is pouring his heart out to salvage his team. However, more needs to be done after losing a relatively poor outing against Anthony Davis.
Today, Nurkic played 35 minutes, while just posting 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. He didn’t attempt too many shots, and he only sank four out of ten of those. He also only went to the line once.
The Blazers aren’t going to make excuses for this. They’ve been on the same story in the past, and they will not blame anyone else but themselves. Carmelo Anthony said,
“We are asking a lot of [Nurk], but we asking a lot out of everybody, so we’ve all got to bring it. We’ve all got to support that. We’ve got to figure it out and we’ve got to go. This is the playoffs.”
The Blazers being a shallow team is an understatement. They have to rely on Anfernee Simons and Wenyen Gabriel to keep the ship afloat. The two have been moving in and out of the playing rotation to switch the scoring up.
Head coach Terry Stotts is also keeping Hassan Whiteside in the starting lineup with Jusuf Nurkic. If not, the entire Blazers team gets overwhelmed with the size of Anthony Davis and Lebron James.
It remains to be seen how this shakeup will favor the Blazers, but they have to think fast.
Image from Sports highlights/ YouTube thumbnail
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