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Getting to Know You: Understanding Drew Eubanks through the lens of a Blazers fan

Blazer’s Edge’s David Deckard answered some of the questions we have about the newly acquired center.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Hey, Bright Siders! You sick of me writing yet? Because I’m not sick of, alongside the Bright Side contributing team, breaking down all aspects of this new Phoenix Suns squad we have here in the Valley! It’s been a whirlwind couple o’ weeks with Bradley Beal’s acquisition and free agency, but what James Jones has built is — on paper — one of the best teams we’ve ever seen in Phoenix.

In this edition, I’m learning more about Drew Eubanks — Drewbanks, if you will — through the eyes of someone who followed him the past two seasons in Portland.

David Deckard writes for the SB Nation Blazers site, Blazer’s Edge. He great perspective on what we can and should expect from the guy brought in to take Jock Landale’s place and back up DA.

John Voita: First question...what is the deal with the Trout of Shaq-dale nickname?

David Deckard: Shaq of Troutdale. It’s a small suburb of Portland, known mostly as a place to get gas before heading East for the scenic drive along the Columbia River gorge. Eubanks grew up there. I’m not sure the exact origins of the moniker, but he’s clearly the best basketball product—maybe any product—to come out of Troutdale.

He also plays bigger than his reputation indicates. Those may have contributed to the obviously-overblown comparison to the Hall of Famer. It’s not derisive, though. Eubanks comes at you as if he’s Shaq, or rather as if he doesn’t understand that he’s not. He’s going to go at it 110%, absorb every minute like it’s his right, and back down from nobody. Troutdale adds the necessary comic absurdity to the admiration that you can’t help but give him.

JV: How would you describe Eubanks’ game? What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

DD: Efficient. He never takes bad shots, as his ridiculous 64.1% field goal percentage last season indicates. Those aren’t Andre Drummond, put-back dunk numbers either. Eubanks has a sneaky little half hook and a bit of a face-up shot. As long as you don’t just dump it to him in the post and watch, he can find a way to score from 10 feet and in.

He’s ultra-smart about when to take his shot and when to pass it up. On defense, he’s always willing, never backs down from a challenge, and is a pretty good help defender. That’s how his blocks come. His size keeps him from being a true one-on-one defender against bigger centers.

He’s semi-mobile, not a cement mixer like many seven-footers getting out to cover the arc, but his show-and-recover isn’t devastating. I’d say he was a perceptive, willing, team defender but he’s not going to be your anchor in the middle. Also, if he gets overmatched—either out-sized or out-quicked—there’s nothing to do about it.

He’s either going to be the gritty superhero or on the sidelines. He brings what he brings, take it or leave it.

JV: Would you describe him as physical or finesse? Cerebral or a brute? Confident or passive?

DD: A mix of both physical and finesse, depending on the situation, but he’s better when he can be physical on defense, finesse on offense. He’s both cerebral and willing to mix it up, though not to the extreme. He’s definitely confident, but he lets his play do the talking for him.

Drew Eubanks isn’t your gourmet restaurant that you share with your special guests from out of town. He’s that open-late food truck where you can still find a good-sized, well-made burrito at 2AM for six bucks. He’s not going to get a Michelin star, but somehow you feel a little happier every time you visit. And dang it, it’s your place.

JV: Is he a “glad he’s gone” or a “wish he stayed” player?

DD: Wish he’d stayed in general, because you will never, ever be ashamed to have him on your team. Adding one- and two-block Legos to the sculpture doesn’t matter as much when you have to change the foundation and base plate, so I understand why staying in Portland was optional. Eubanks should light a fire for the Phoenix bench if used properly. He’ll be better off there for now.

You pumped now? Sounds like James Jones and his staff did a great job evaluating talent and bringing in someone who will provide high-quality minutes for the team. And they did it on a minimum.

Thank you to Davide Deckard for taking some time out of his day to provide us with this is insight!

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