Jusuf Nurkic says Trail Blazers have to fix their 'trash' defense, become 'bad boys'

The Portland Trail Blazers were not a very good defensive team last season. Their defensive rating of 107.8, which put them 21st in the league, was a big reason they finished just .500 and barely snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. 

Jusuf Nurkic does not want that to happen again. The Bosnia big man, who was acquired by Portland ahead of the trade deadline last season in exchange for Mason Plumlee, did not mince his words, calling the Blazers' defense last season "trash" and noting that if the team wants to win, they need to improve on that side of the ball. He also suggested they take a few notes from the old Detroit Pistons teams and become "bad boys." Via the Associated Press:

"All we can do is put all we can together and be Bad Boys," the 7-footer known as the Bosnian Beast said. "I mean, we are Bad Boys. When you come to Portland you know you're not going to have wins easy."

"Our defense was trash, to be honest, before," he said. "We're going to be better. When I came it was better and we're going to keep improving that. It's simple: If you want to win, you need to play defense."

During the six weeks or so that Nurkic was healthy and playing with the Trail Blazers at the end of last season, their defensive rating was 105.4, a marked improvement over their 109 mark in the 50-plus games before he arrived. A defensive rating of 105.4 over the course of the entire season would have seen the Blazers finish with the 12th best defense last season instead of the 21st. 

Six weeks of play at the end of the season isn't the biggest sample size of all time, but it's enough to show that with a healthy Nurkic, the Blazers can be a much better defensive team. Just how much better, however, remains to be seen. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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