Jusuf Nurkic: Blazers want to be the modern-day ‘Bad Boys’

Jusuf Nurkic said that he thinks the Portland Trail Blazers can be the modern-day Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” (the mid-2000s one, not the 1980s one).

Though the Portland Trail Blazers were able to clinch a playoff spot last season, their defensive rating was near the bottom of the barrel, according to NBA.com. However, Jusuf Nurkic believes this upcoming season will be different (defensively) for the Blazers.

Nurkic, who only played 20 games with the Blazers last season after being traded by the Denver Nuggets, told the media on Monday that his team can be the modern-day Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” with their improved defense and toughness.

Per CBS Sports:

“I feel like we can be the group like Detroit was with Chauncey [Billups] and Rasheed Wallace,” Nurkic said. “Be that group even with the youngest team in the league. I don’t know our future, but right now we want to be the “Bad Boys.” Our team, we need to play defense, bottom line. Our defense was trash, to be honest, before. 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.”

The 2003-04 Detroit Pistons, the team that Nurkic is referring to, were a very good defensive team. They mainly used their defense to win games and were a top team in the Eastern Conference. During that season, they also defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship.

However, the nickname of “Bad Boys” isn’t regularly used as a moniker for this team (though there was one Slam cover that referred to them as the “Bad Boys 2.0”). This nickname is usually used to describe the Pistons’ team from the 1980s with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Bill Laimbeer.

Regardless of the mistake, what Nurkic is saying is that he wants the Trail Blazers to be better on the defensive end and he will make sure that the team improves in that area.

In the 20 games he played with Portland last season, he averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals.