The Trail Blazers will be playing with ‘house money’ in the postseason

Imagine a world where you are Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and have Hassan Whiteside, a full-strength Jusuf Nurkic and a healthy Zach Collins at your disposal. 

Portland, as well as the rest of the NBA, has yet to see this three-headed monster suited up.

It is the biggest (quite literally) kept secret in the NBA that opposing teams will have a tough time scouting. Why? Because it is yet to happen.

Jusuf Nurkic, who broke his leg in March of last season, was one game away from making his 2020 season debut before the NBA suspended the season. Zach Collins, who hasn’t played since he suffered a dislocated shoulder on October 27th, will be back as well once the postseason resumes. Nurk and Collins are two big pieces of the puzzle that the Blazers will have back on the court.

And think about it: opposing teams haven’t had the opportunity to scout these two for quite some time now. There’s no recent film on either Collins or Nurk and you have to go back at least one year to see the two on the court together. Their games have changed since then.

They [Portland] have just as good opportunity as anyone else. With a healthy Nurk back, we don’t know how healthy Zach is but he’s been working, so their motivation is a little bit different than everyone else’s. They are playing with house money. Nobody has film on Zach; nobody has film on Nurk. And to get enough film on both of them to really matter is going to be after. Even then, it’s only ten games. – Channing Frye

Portland will finally be near full strength and a different team once the NBA resumes play.

Now let’s take a look at what it would be like if the Blazers do end up making that eight-seed in the Western Conference. Portland would face the Los Angeles Lakers, and in case you haven’t seen the comments, LeBron James has said about facing Portland in the first round, enjoy.

[RELATED]: LeBron James thinks the Portland Trail Blazers would be a tough 8th seed to beat

For me, I think the Blazers have the best chance of making noise. Am I going to say ‘They’re going to beat the Lakers?’ I would say of any team, they have the best chance by far. – Channing Frye 

Before the NBA suspension, the Trail Blazers and Lakers faced one another three times, Los Angeles winning two out of the three. However, the Lakers had little answer for a man named Damian Lillard who dropped 29, 31 and 48 points in those three games. Not to mention Lillard was one rebound away from a triple-double in their last meeting: 48 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

Dame and LeBron have great respect for one another and it would be a treat to see their two teams in the first round of the NBA postseason.

When that will be is still very much up in the air. Yes, the NBA’s return date is July 30, however, the players (including Portland’s Carmelo Anthony) are skeptical to resume play given the circumstances and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But once play does resume, beware of the Portland Trail Blazers along with that three-headed monster.

The Trail Blazers will be playing with house money in the postseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest