When the Blazers are healthy

Portland won't know how good it is until it's healthy

During the final week of the NBA season, Golden State Warriors veteran Klay Thompson made a stirring prediction of the playoffs to come - his team was invincible in a seven-game series. When healthy.

Of course, staying healthy is the key. The Warriors hadn't been fully healthy all season long, and were battling for a spot in the top six of the Western Conference so they didn't have to play their way into the quarterfinals.

When healthy.

The fun part of that theory - and when healthy the Warriors have won four titles in the past eight years - is that it probably works for a lot of teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers.

When healthy, the Blazers probably have a pretty good shot at beating the Warriors in a seven-game series. It's easy to theorize, but also easy to see the logic in the theory as being basic toast because of that key word: healthy.

The Portland Trail Blazers are never fully healthy for something like seven games in a row, so they would have no chance of beating the Warriors in reality. You can only dream.

The key to the healthy element is Jusuf Nurkic, and the number of games he's missed during virtually every season since 2018-19, when he logged an average of 27 minutes per game for 72 games. The Blazers reached the conference finals that year, where they lost to the Warriors in four games.

Nurkic played just eight games the next year, and although the team reached the playoffs, it lost in the first round as it did the next season when he played in 37 games.

He's been on the court for 56 games last year when Damian Lillard was out for the season, and 52 this season, when Lillard has regularly had to sit.

For the team to move forward, and give Lillard a shot at playoff success, it needs to upgrade Nurkic to someone who can stay healthy.

Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is a lifelong resident of Oregon and has four decades of experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, broadcaster and now producer. He's a grad of Benson and the University of Oregon, and publishes Oregonsports.com as well as OSPN, which is scheduled for delivery as a streaming Mobile App in December.

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