The new era of the Portland Trail Blazers has been off to a rocky start.
Through nine games, the Trail Blazers sit at just 3-6. Of course, no one expected them to win many games after they traded away Damian Lillard, even when factoring in all of the talent they got back in the deal.
Even with Malcolm Brogdon and Deandre Ayton joining fellow veterans Jerami Grant and Matisse Thybulle, Portland is still comprised of mostly young projects who have yet to learn how to positively impact an NBA game.
It’s not the record that’s been disappointing for the Blazers so far; it’s everything else. Without Dame, fans were looking forward to seeing what Anfernee Simons could do as the primary ballhandler and de facto top offensive option for a team.
In the very first game of the season, though, Ant came down with a thumb injury that ended up requiring surgery. The recovery is expected to hold him out for six weeks.
With Simons sidelined, Scoot Henderson was slated to receive the keys to the offense. What better way for the third-overall pick to learn how to run an NBA offense than to be thrust into a starting role with little ballhandling to support him?
Henderson went on to have perhaps the worst start for any rookie in the league this season. Just as he was starting to turn things around, he came down with an ankle injury that’ll hold him out for 4-6 weeks.
Robert Williams III, Portland’s new prized big man that they got by flipping Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics, appeared in all of six games before he incurred a knee injury. His ailment also required surgery, but Williams III is expected to miss the entirety of the season while he recovers post-op.
Toumani Camara with the baseline HAMMER 💥pic.twitter.com/uPPaMsCBIh
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 1, 2023
While two of the key pieces of Portland’s rebuild will miss significant time, they did obtain an unexpected prospect who has provided plenty of excitement. Toumani Camara, regarded as a throw-in as part of the Deandre Ayton acquisition, has been a bright spot in an otherwise dreary reset for the Trail Blazers.
With his defensive length, activity, and instincts, Camara quickly clawed his way into Head Coach Chauncey Billups’s rotation and hasn’t shown any signs of letting go.
While he’s struggled mightily on the other end of the court, the defensive promise he’s shown already will make him a long-time NBA professional if he can become even slightly below average on offense.
Toumani Camara POSTERIZES Walker Kessler 🤯pic.twitter.com/xcSuaASzZz
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 3, 2023
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| Title: Toumani Camara a bright spot for Portland Trail Blazers
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: Dec 7, 2023