Which Portland Trail Blazer Has The Best Chance Of Making The NBA All-Star Team?

The NBA All-Star Weekend is two weekends away, and we’ve seen how the East and West teams have shaken out. A surprise arose with Andrew Wiggins making the All-Star starters. The reserves will be announced on February 3rd, and we may have a surprise in this list of our own Blazers All-Stars.  Even though none of our Blazers made the starting team, we can still find out who has been the best Blazer this year, and hope the #1 pick on our team makes that reserve slot:

#3 – Norman Powell – SG/SF

Team Rankings

3rd – 18.4 Points Per Game

8th – 3.2 Rebounds Per Game

6th – 2.1 Assists Per Game

2nd – 2.4 Win Shares

5th – 114 Offensive Rating

12th – 117 Defensive Rating

Portland’s most recent significant acquisition was Norman Powell last year from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Gary Trent Jr and Rodney Hood. At that point last year, Powell was averaging a career-high in points per game at 19.6. This year, he’s been close to that production from last year. This season has seen opportunities for Powell to step up, with fellow guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum out with separate injuries. Powell has stretched the floor for his teammates, offering up a solid 40.4% shooting from three, and has shown he can step in at the three for bursts if the Blazers wanted to run their small lineup. Given McCollum has missed more time than Norman, and their stats are similar, the edge goes to Powell.

#2 – Damian Lillard – PG

Team Rankings

1st – 24.0 Points Per Game

7th – 4.1 Rebounds Per Game

1st – 7.3 Assists Per Game

3rd – 2.2 Win Shares

8th – 113 Offensive Rating

14th – 118 Defensive Rating

It’s weird having potentially the best Blazers player in history second on the Blazers All-Star list, but here we are. Dame struggled to begin the year, shooting 35% from the field in his first ten games. Dame came back the next ten games and shot a better 44% from the field, but fans of the Blazers noticed something was still off. After the November 29th game against Utah, Lillard had a recurring abdominal injury flare-up, which kept him out of the next five games. He returned and played eight games before opting to get surgery to address the abdomen injury, which he is still out for. He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated in about three weeks, but I would be surprised if we saw Dame hit the court this year.

#1 – Jusuf Nurkic – C

Team Rankings

5th – 14.6 Points Per Game

1st – 10.7 Rebounds Per Game

5th – 2.6 Assists Per Game

1st – 3.7 Win Shares

8th – 113 Offensive Rating

1st – 109 Defensive Rating

Along with being the healthiest of the team, Nurkic has been the anchor offensively and defensively. If you’re familiar with how Coach Chauncey runs the offense, it’s usually with two guards on opposite wings and Nurk on the high post. Typically, the action starts at the top of the key, with one of the guards either differing to Nurk or using him in the screen and roll game. While his scoring output doesn’t show offensive greatness, this motion at the beginning of the play is crucial to setting up the offense. Defensively, Nurk carries this team, as you can tell by his team-leading 109 defensive rating. He’s had a couple of 20/20 games this year, something that only a handful of players do each year. Not only this, but with Dame out, Nurk is the de facto leader on the court. That’s something that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. He’s an unrestricted free agent going into next season, and there hasn’t been much discussion on extending the best player for the Blazers this year. As mentioned in previous articles, the Blazers have to retain the Bosnian Beast to make some noise next year and beyond.