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Portland Trail Blazers Bench Stock Rises

A look at five Trail Blazers whose stock rose or fell in Week 3 of the season, with special attention to some neglected bench players.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Stats are reflected from Sunday, November 9th through Saturday, November 15th

Wesley Matthews

Last Week: 20-57 (35.0%) shooting, 8-12 free throws, 19 rebounds, 18 assists, 4 turnovers

Stock Watch: No Change

Wesley Matthews has had a fantastic start to the 2014-2015 season, so it seems unfair for his stock to remain unchanged in his first appearance here. The issue lies in his last three games. Without Nicolas Batum for most of last week, and LaMarcus Aldridge missing the game against Brooklyn, the Blazers needed Matthews to step up and be the second option behind Damian Lillard. What Portland got was Wesley's three worst shooting performances of the season thus far. His 3-of-13 night versus Brooklyn really stands out, as he missed every shot within 10 feet of the hoop (0-for-4), and shot just 2-of-7 from three-point range. On defense, he was taken to task for much of the night by Joe Johnson, a mismatch caused by Batum's absence. His stock remained the same due to his energy on both ends of the floor with strong rebounding and passing. Against Denver on Wednesday he accumulated a season-high seven assists, providing a punch even when his shots were not falling, and completing Batum's usual passing role.

Allen Crabbe

Last Week: 6-18 (33%) shooting, 2-2 free throws, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers in 71 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

Many were surprised when Crabbe was given the starting nod in the void created by Batum's injury. It is hard to argue with the results. While Crabbe is not the scorer that Batum is, his defense was a definite strength. Against Denver, he held Wilson Chandler to 1-of-4 shooting when facing Chandler directly. His +10 rating against Charlotte led all Blazers. Most importantly, he forced as many turnovers as he committed, helping the offense stay in step even without Batum.

C.J. McCollum

Last Week: 8-19 (42.1%) shooting, 6-11 free throws, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers in 64 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

Portland fans had a lot to cheer about in the Blazers dismantling of the Denver Nuggets last Wednesday. One of the surprises was McCollum's line of 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting (3-of-6 from three), 2 rebounds and a steal. The 15 points were the most he has scored in a game since he scored 19 against Minnesota on February 2nd, 2014. McCollum seems to have a lot more confidence in his shooting. Despite the increased minutes last week he kept the turnovers to a minimum, something he struggled with in the first week of the season.

Will Barton

Last Week: 7-15 (46.7%) shooting, 2-3 free throws, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers in 36 minutes

Stock Watch: No Change

Barton had a mixed week, mixing a "DNP" against Charlotte with his best game of the season against Brooklyn. His signature energy was there against the Nets on both ends of the floor. When the Portland starters were not able to find their shots, he shot 3-of-5 in the first half to keep the Nets at bay. While he still gets himself in foul trouble with steal attempts, his defense has improved from last season.

Meyers Leonard

Last Week: 4-8 (50%) shooting, 2-2 free throws, 12 rebounds, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers in 36 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

Another surprise starter for the Blazers, Leonard defied all expectations against Brooklyn. He set a career-high with 12 rebounds, shot effectively from outside, and played possibly the best defense in any single game of his career. In years past, Kevin Garnett would have made mincemeat out of Leonard. Instead, Garnett was limited to 12 points, including several tough outside shots. Leonard is still slow on his defensive rotations, and he could definitely continue to improve on defense. That said, his performance on Saturday was exactly what Portland needed in Aldridge's absence.