Roy The Natural wrote:
FWIW the Blazers have a great core, I'm a huge fan of Dame/CJ/Nurk/Crabbe. I think if they could get a versatile, rangey, star-level 3 they could seriously vault up to a top 3 seed. Then higher once the bench gets filled out. Defensively I do worry about that backcourt, but those guys are such well-rounded offensive players I think you just build the rest of the team to hide that.
That said...Nurk has been great, but let's be real. He's not the savior that would push this series to 6-7 games. It's not like skilled bigs are our kryptonite like they were in the '07 Jazz series. Very good player that would improve the level of play, but this is a sweep all the way unless Dame/CJ go for 75-80 gain and get a huge contribution from 2-3 other players, which could push it to 5.
Probably not yet. I do think Nurkic's potential is pretty ridiculous. I'm not sure I can really name a stronger player in the NBA. Maybe Drummond, but I've seen him move Drummond before as well. Nurkic has to work on tightening his game up though. Only way Blazers take this to 6 is if Nurkic comes back (healthy and without rust) and Lillard and McCollum go nuclear at home over the next 2 games. Fully expect a sweep though. Portland can't compete whatsoever with no front court and Crabbe limping around.
Edit: Also if Durant doesn't return in addition.
Crabbe's hurt? That explains a lot. He's such a useful player strong frame, nice range, solid defense and looks so comfortable on or off the ball. I was surprised he wasn't killing us (again). Elite 6 man that doesn't get enough respect.
Nurkic is tantalizing for sure. What type of 4 plays with him though? I've only seen him play maybe once or twice, but know there was that whole mess with Jokic. I'd assume you get a Terrence Jones/Patrick Patterson type, who can spread the floor and at least be tall, or maybe a defense first player who's closer to the hoop? Maybe even a more premium option like Ibaka could be a fit for longer than a year. It'a a delicate situation because you guys have three stars and need to build out depth from there.
The positive is that the core is the hardest thing to get right! Just look at Boston