Trail Blazers start five rookies in loss to Nuggets | The Sporting Base
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Trail Blazers start five rookies in loss to Nuggets

March 26, 2024

Trail Blazers start five rookies in loss to Nuggets

Heading into the 2023-24 National Basketball Association regular season, it was widely speculated that the Portland Trail Blazers would be on the outside looking in of a playoff spot. With 11 games left in their regular season, Portland is at 19 wins and 52 losses. In the Western Conference, only the San Antonio Spurs are worse at 16 wins and 56 losses.

What we saw on Saturday, was the latest example of the Trail Blazers rebuild. According to ESPN, they became only the second team in half a century to start five rookies. The Trail Blazers starting five in their slim 114-111 loss to the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets were power forward Toumani Camara of Brussels, Belgium, small forward Kris Murray of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, point guard Scoot Henderson of Marietta, Georgia, shooting guard Rayan Rupert of Strasbourg, France and center Duop Reath of Waat, South Sudan. It was Reath, who plays internationally for Australia, who led Portland with 24 points.

Of the Trail Blazers starting five, four were Portland draft picks. Camara was selected in the second round, 52nd overall, in the 2023 NBA Draft, Murray was selected in the first round, 23rd overall, in the 2023 NBA Draft, Henderson was selected in the first round, third overall, in the 2023 NBA Draft, and Rupert was selected in the second round, 43rd overall, in the 2023 NBA Draft. Reath meanwhile signed a one-year contract on October 2.

The reason why the Trail Blazers were forced to start five rookies came down to injuries. Out were shooting guard Anfernee Simons of Longwood, Florida (knee), power forward Jerami Grant of Portland, Oregon (hamstring), shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe of London, Ontario, Canada (core muscle), and guard Malcolm Brogdon of Atlanta, Georgia (elbow).

The last time a team started five rookies were the Golden State Warriors in a 107-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on April 26, 2012. The Warriors starting five in this game were shooting guard Klay Thompson of Los Angeles, California, point guard Charles Jenkins of Brooklyn, New York, small forward Chris Wright of Trotwood, Ohio, center Jeremy Tyler of San Diego, California, and power forward Mickell Gladness of Birmingham, Alabama.


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