Prior to entering his fourth NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers have come to an agreement with Nassir Little on a four-year rookie extension amassing to $28 million.
Little, the 25th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has recently become a factoring piece within the Trail Blazers nightly rotation. It got to the point he was considered for the starting small forward role going into the 2023 NBA season. In three seasons with the Blazers, Little has played in 130 games and only started in 38 of them — most coming last year with the Blazers’ roster riddled with injuries.
Little is coming off the best season of his professional career thus far with averages of 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Little’s third season concluded in an abrupt manner with a torn left labrum that would end up needing season-ending surgery. The final 15 games of Little’s season were uplifting as he averaged 12.1 points on 36.5% shooting from three.
Little’s game is defined by his awe-inspiring athleticism and ability to finish above the rim. With that being said, his continued progression as a shooter is what makes him such an exciting player to have on the court at all times. The steady growth to score at nearly all three levels has Little poised to turn heads when he takes the court.
On the other end of the floor, it is Little’s length and ability to keep up with both guards and wings that demonstrates his versatility. While the Blazers’ defense comes with questions, Little and his non-stop motor could very well play himself into a greater role if all goes well.
At just 22 years old, Little’s extension ties him in to what is perhaps an underrated young core that is being built in Portland.
Little and the Blazers will make their way to Sacramento for their season opener against the Kings. Portland has a lot to prove as the Western Conference continues to grow stronger. In the same sense, Little himself has a lot to prove, especially after the Blazers invested in him past the standard four years out of college.
Little’s opportunity to produce at a high level will be as great as it has been during his time with Portland. As questions surrounding the roster and the rotation arise, Portland could possibly be looking toward Nassir Little to provide even the most simplistic answer.