The Portland Trail Blazers came into the 2023-24 NBA season with expectations to be the worst team in the league. Then a trio of injuries took the team’s stock from bad to worse: first it was star guard Anfernee Simons, who suffered a thumb injury which will keep him out another month or so. Then rookie guard Scoot Henderson suffered an ankle injury and will miss a few weeks, and finally the big blow: center Robert Williams III, acquired from the Boston Celtics in the Jrue Holiday trade, will now miss the entire season with a knee injury.
This ultimately makes the Blazers significantly less watchable, but could be beneficial for the team in the long run as they embark on a full on rebuild around Henderson, Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, and DeAndre Ayton.
However, they still need to fill out an NBA roster, and after signing WCC legend Jamaree Bouyea to a two-way contract on Sunday to help shore up their guard depth – it might be time to do the same in the frontcourt.
Drew Timme has played two games so far with the Wisconsin Herd, the G-League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, and is averaging 15 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and one steal in 21 minutes per game. He’s shooting a Timme-esque 70.6% from the field and is even up to 80% from the charity stripe for good measure.
Of course the sample size is tiny, but Timme’s sample size of being a productive big man is anything but, with more points than anyone in Gonzaga basketball history and multiple All-American accolades to boot.
The Blazers have little center depth behind Ayton with Williams on the shelf. Duop Reath out of LSU was recalled from the team’s G-League affiliate, the Rip City Remix, and had a solid season debut with 11 points, three boards, and three assists in 14 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. He and Moses Brown will likely carry the load for now, but Portland could certainly use more oomph in the frontcourt, and Timme is available to be signed to a two-way contract or regular NBA deal right away.
The Blazers could give Timme a shot alongside Reath to play behind Ayton, allowing him to develop in a pressure-free environment while learning from a big in Ayton who has more experience playing away from the rim – something Drew could stand to improve upon if he wants to stick in the Association.
If he plays well and develops, Portland gets themselves another young big to add to their youth movement. If it doesn’t work out, he still gains NBA experience and Portland isn’t in any worse shape as a team competing more for a high draft pick than a spot in the playoffs.
Plus, the Timme aesthetic is tailor-made for Portland – and some playing time in the G-League would reunite him with former Gonzaga teammate Malachi Smith, who dropped 33 points for the Remix on Sunday.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.