‘From now on it counts’: Trail Blazers preparing for start of regular season

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:02 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The Trail Blazers preseason is done and now they prep for the regular season that tips off later this week. They’re coming off a 1-4 record in the preseason, but as they say, from now on, it counts.

Coach Chauncey Billups says the last five off days has been like a second training camp as they gear up for their first game of the season.

“We worked on some defense, yes we did,” says Billups. “We went live every single day, we ran hard pretty much every single day. We’ll practice again tomorrow but no contact, just trying to get sharp.”

The Blazers lost each of their four games by an average of 21 points. There is still plenty of work to do, and have two days before their first real game against Sacramento.

“Learning tendencies, knowing where people like to catch the ball, making it easy for people whether it’s Dame running off screens, making it easy for him so he doesn’t have to always be on the ball,” says Forward, Jerami Grant. “The openness to learn, the talent that we have, all we gotta do is gel. We’re getting better every day at practice.”

It was announced on Monday, the Blazers signed forward, Nassir Little to a 4-year $28-million extended contract, taking him through the 2026-27 season. Little says it means the world to have the team believe in him.

“It’s more money than I make now, it’s more money than I’ve ever met in my life,” says Little. “I don’t really play this game, just for money. I had $28 million on the table and so I just took it.”

Little posted up an average of 9 pts. last year before having a season-ending shoulder injury. After seven months off, Little says he’s feeling good and Monday was his best practice. Coach Billups says he has the potential to be a starter.

“He’s not quite where he was when he left off before he got hurt. He’s come a long way since we started training camp,” says Billups. “You can tell us confidence is better.”

“I will continue to get better, continue to develop but I want to be looked at as a player. Okay, he’s the player that make stuff happens when he’s in the game,” says Little.

The Blazer will visit the Kings Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m.