3 lineups Trail Blazers can use to replace Simons; who backs up Lillard?

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers – Photo By: Steph Chambers-Getty Images /

Matisse Thybulle and Nassir Little

We’ve already established that Thybulle is an elite defender. He’s been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second-Team the past two seasons after finishing in the top 10 in the league in steals.

Nassir Little, on the other hand, is a great third defender behind Thybulle and Jerami Grant with a strong build and good athleticism. Little is no slouch on offense, either.

He’s shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three in 37 games this season. But he also wouldn’t be relied upon to carry any offensive load.

This lineup would be relying on Lillard, Grant, and Jusuf Nurkic to provide the bulk of the scoring with Little and Thybulle tasked with shutting down the other team’s offense.

With Little in the lineup at the three spot, Thybulle can drop to his more natural position at the two and lock down the other team’s most dangerous scoring threat. Little is averaging 16.8 minutes per game this year, and given that he’s signed through the 2026-2027 season on an affordable deal, increasing his minutes to get him more experience will help him reach his full potential.