3 Things to watch for in the Portland Trail Blazers preseason opener

Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Will Robert Williams III take the floor with Deandre Ayton in the Blazers preseason opener?
Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

2. Any minutes for Robert Williams III and Deandre Ayton together?

If Ayton was the centerpiece of the three-team deal that sent Lillard to Milwaukee and Jusuf Nurkic to the Phoenix Suns, then Williams was the centerpiece (as far as players go) in the trade that sent Holiday to Boston.

The Blazers were quick to say Williams was staying in Portland, and Billups mentioned at the team’s media day that he and Ayton would share the floor together at times this season.

Will we get a glimpse of it against New Zealand?

Williams and Ayton are both centers by trade, but both possess skills that make them more versatile than traditional fives. Ayton can dominate a game offensively by scoring on the block and stepping out to shoot from 15 feet or beyond, and he runs the floor like a wing. Williams can do some of the same things, but is one of the most explosive athletes in the NBA who’s capable of averaging two blocks a game for an entire season.

Seeing how Billups manages two non-traditional centers on the floor at once will be intriguing, but it would be enthralling to watch either of them run a few pick-and-rolls with Henderson. Some thrilling lob city-esque finishes could be in store.