The Trail Blazers have made a decision on their starting small forward job, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, who hears from a source that Josh Hart has won the training camp competition.
Hart had been competing with Nassir Little and Justise Winslow for the right to start at the three for Portland this season, alongside a backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons and a frontcourt of Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic.
Hart, whom the Blazers acquired in last season’s CJ McCollum blockbuster, has earned praise from head coach Chauncey Billups for his effort on defense and his basketball IQ, as Fentress notes. The veteran swingman is entering a potential contract year — his 2023/24 salary is currently non-guaranteed and he also has the ability to opt out of his deal after the season.
Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- Second-year Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado has long admired Tony Parker‘s game and got the chance to work with the former Spurs star this offseason, meeting Parker at the Las Vegas Summer League and then traveling to San Antonio to train with him. “Actually, I (direct messaged) him and said, ‘I’m a big fan of you,'” Alvarado said, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “‘Is there any chance me and you can get in the gym this summer? I would love that.’ He replied right away.”
- Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at where things stand with the Rockets‘ rotation, noting that Tari Eason is making a strong case for regular playing time, while Bruno Fernando appears to have passed Usman Garuba on the depth chart at center. Iko also isn’t sure that any of the players acquired in last week’s trade with Oklahoma City (Derrick Favors, Theo Maledon, and Maurice Harkless) will make the regular season roster.
- Given how significantly they overhauled their roster this offseason, the Jazz will likely need more than just a few preseason games to develop a real sense of chemistry, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “It’s going to take us a while to get used to everyone and learn everyone,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We’re still just getting the basics down. We’re not even at the point of knowing guys’ spots and individual games.”
11 thoughts on “Western Notes: Hart, Alvarado, Rockets, Jazz”
Garuba got drafted by the wrong team. I feel bad for him.
He was pretty @ Eurobasket
Did he though? He got drafted then got injured, missed almost all of his rookie year, then after the 22 draft he’s buried in the 4-5 spots. He was drafted with 3 other rookies that all got strong mins last year, which he also would have had he not been injured.
He’ll get his mins. Tbf every player on the fringes of a mediocre team will get mins when the Wemby tank race starts to gather pace. Best ever season to be a fringe player looking to prove their worth. 10+ teams racing to tank come Jan onwards.
Trail blazers gonna suck …
Josh Hart is a role player I really like.
The Portland Trail Blazers is the team that confused me the most this off season. Jusuf Nurkic has been a major injury and they gave him a major deal. Anfernee Simons is another undersized Shooting Guard that they gave a major deal. It’s just like they knew what was wrong with the last team and basically brought that type of team right back.
Totally agree with you this Blazers D is already freaking baaad in pre-season …
The confusion dates back further w Portland, A LOT further
Agree the calls made have a job security feel to them rather than an on court vision – One of the worst possible situations a fan can be in of any team
* Totally agree on Nurk, the C market doesn’t bear that contract today with all other options factored in. I would have hard balled him up the river and gave him a paddle if he still chose to swim
There’s some talent on the court up in Portland but I fear the front office is a ghost town
Eason for ROY
If he gets the mins, he’s looking like a steal. Surprised no one saw his potential.
Only hype I saw was on a Houston thread with a reporter saying to use #17 and Christian Wood to trade into the top 10 to get him. Turns out they didn’t need to!
I thought Washington should have drafted him at 10
As I’ve said a few times, I think I the issue with Portland is too many similar guys, and then since they paid Simons, they feel the need to start him, instead of letting him run the 2nd unit, and bringing more balance to the floor. They have so many 4s, and a bunch of options theoretically at the 2, but besides Hart, their only other option on the wing is Sharpe, and I’m not sure how healthy he is.
I would co sider Nurmic off the bench as well, which I’ve said for 2 years, but that’s maybe not as big of a thing as it was previously…
I think Lillard, Winslow/Johnson/Little/Sharpe, Hart, Grant, Nurkic should be the starting lineup, and then they have to figure out which of their 4s they want to bring off the bench, some of that depending on who starts at the 2…
Right now, I would agree they wont be good, but they have a lot of pieces where they theoretically could be good defensively if used right, but it doesnt seem that way, and they have a severe lack of spacing in a lot of their lineups, unless they sacrifice that defense