The Portland Trail Blazers are currently in 9th place in the Western Conference with a 29-37 record and sit three and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot.
Last week, Blazers guard CJ McCollum was a guest on SportCenter’s Instagram Live with former NBA veteran Richard Jefferson. During the interview, Jefferson and McCollum discussed McCollum being the first NBA player to publicly stop signing autographs due to the coronavirus outbreak. The duo also discussed McCollum fostering a dog with his fiance and the possibility of making the playoff after the NBA hiatus is over.
The Blazers will have some key players returning to their lineup from injuries, such as Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic. McCollum said they could do some damage with their full roster healthy.
“Put it like this: I guarantee you teams would rather play other teams than play us with a healthy [Jusuf] Nurkic with a healthy Zach Collins, and a healthy front court. Here is the thing, I’m not going to spread no rumors because I don’t want my staff mad at me,” said McCollum. “So, put it like this: When the season starts again, we have real action because we got real players coming back like real players. Starter rotation type guys that can impact the game that can change the game. In terms of matchups and some stuff, you look at who we can potentially play. We got action.”
Back in November in a game against the Dallas Mavericks, Collins left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a dislocated shoulder. Shams Charania of The Athletic later reported Collins would be out four months after having surgery. As for Nurkic, he has been out most of the season after suffering a bad leg injury last season.
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Jusuf Nurkic Revealed When He Learned He Was Traded to Blazers
In February 2017, the Portland Trail Blazers struck a deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire center Jusuf Nurkic and a 2018 second-rounder (via Memphis) in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a 2017 first-round pick.
Nurkic recently revealed how he found out he was traded to the Blazers from the Nuggets. His agent delivered the news.
“The day I got a phone call from my agent, and he said ‘you’re going to Portland.’ … As soon as I hung up, basically the first thing I did was go to my calendar and see when I’m playing them (Nuggets),” Nurkic said in an interview, per NBC Sports Northwest.
Like any player who gets traded, Nurkic circled the date on the calendar of when he would play his former team.
“That was the first thing I did. Marked the calendar, whatever, and I was just waiting for that day. And of course, you’ve got all the things in life going on with the travel, and now you’ve got to switch teams and focus mentally and physically. It was just like, even now, just made me nervous for a second like with how much was going on. It was cool, it was just like ‘this is another date. Let’s get it,'” Nurkic said.
Per Clutch Points, Nurkic scored 33 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks while shooting 12 of 15 from the field and 9 for 11 from the line.