Norman Powell is in the midst of a career season and he credits the Toronto Raptors’ ‘very special’ 2019 championship run for helping him develop into the player he is today.
Five days after being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, Powell says that winning the NBA title gave him the confidence to push himself to improve and become a key piece for the Trail Blazers playoff run.
“I credit it a lot. Obviously as an NBA player, you have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to go out and play against the best in the world,” Powell said on OverDrive on Tuesday. “You look at my career and I’ve come through in the playoffs many times. But to do it with that team in that moment, the way we did it, being called upon on the biggest stage, was very special.”
The 27-year-old specifically credited former teammate and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard for showing him what it took to become a champion that season and beyond.
“I think a lot of that comes from the head of the snake in Kawhi and how confident he is in his ability,” said Powell. “The way he went out there and laid it on the line was the blueprint for the younger guys coming up on what it takes to be a champion and how to play at that championship level.
“I think it just carried over to my work ethic. I’ve always wanted to get better and succeed and [keep] looking for more.”
Powell is the only player on the Trail Blazers roster who has won an NBA Championship and says he is ready to take on a leadership role with his new club in pursuit of the team’s first title since 1977.
“I think [my championship pedigree] is very beneficial. I definitely want to make that imprint, especially on the defensive end,” said Powell. “We have a lot of offensive firepower, but it has to come at the defensive end as well.
“I think I can definitely instill that pedigree of what it’s going to take to win a championship on that side of the ball.”