Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Should the Blazers juggle the starting lineup to help cover for the bench?
Sean Highkin of Portland Roundball Society wonders whether Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews should be used in a "super sub" reserve role to better balance the scoring proficiency between the team's starting lineup and bench.
Keeping the starting lineup the way it is when Matthews returns to action could prove beneficial to both players. Claver has scored 28 points on the season on 11-for-38 shooting. But scoring was never supposed to be Claver's strength, and it isn't what he was brought over from Spain to do for the Blazers. It's no secret that Portland's bench has had problems scoring all season, and when Claver plays with other reserves, he's just another guy who can't score, something the Blazers' second unit has more than enough of. When he's on the floor with Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and J.J. Hickson, however, he isn't leaned on nearly as much for offensive production. Playing with four capable scorers allows him to concentrate on defense, making cuts to set up passes for teammates' shots, and rebounding.
There are significant advantages to bringing Matthews off the bench as well. For one thing, it would finally give the Blazers' bench a player capable of scoring consistently, something they've lacked all year. For another, it would put an end to the Lillard-Ronnie Price two-PG backcourts Stotts has often played this season, which have left a lot to be desired.
Matthews is expected to return to the lineup against the New York Knicks on Tuesday after being in and out with a strained left hip flexor over the last few weeks.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter