When you talk about the Portland Trailblazers, everybody immediately thinks of their two-man guard core of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. It makes sense to consider them the core members of the team given that they score the most points. But what if the two-man core is actually Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic, and McCollum isn’t really a vital component of the core at all?
Nurkic provides something that not a lot of players provide: excellent passing at the center position. Meanwhile, the only thing McCollum provides (scoring) is something that can be found in droves across the entire NBA, not to mention the G-League. I’m not saying that it’s easy to find a player who provides McCollum’s level of scoring, but it’s easy enough to find a player who can give you 75% of that scoring. There’s a lot of shooting guards out there who are scorers. In fact, the Blazers just traded a scoring-only SG (Nik Stauskas) for a better scoring-only SG/SF (Rodney Hood).
You can’t just go out and find centers who pass the ball. That’s why the Blazers will probably look to keep the Lillic (that’s Lillard and Nurkic combined, you pleb) combo around for a while but not bend over backwards to keep together the Lillum combo. You should be able to guess what Lillum stands for.