If it's Tuesday it must be time for our weekly watch on the stock of Portland Trail Blazers players. Whose stock rose, whose fell, and who keeps hovering around waiting for the big moment?
Stats are reflected from Sunday, November 16th through Sunday, November 23rd
Last Week: 18-41 (43.9%) shooting, 13-13 free throws, 19 rebounds, 21 assists, 13 turnovers
Stock Watch: UP
Lillard is in a new class of point guard in the NBA: a shoot first variant. So it is refreshing to see Lillard prioritizing passing this season. Last season he had just five games where he took nine shots or less. He already has three this season, but his assists per game have gone up from 5.6 to 6.7. He had just five games with ten or more assists last year, he has one this year and two games with nine. At his current pace, he would beat his career season-high in assists by over 100.
While he is developing well as a passer, forcing passes is an issue. He had four or more turnovers in each of the last six games.
Last Week: 16-28 (57.1%) shooting, 2-6 free throws, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 10 turnovers
Stock Watch: NO CHANGE
At a point last week, no one in the league had hoisted more three-point shots than Matthews (he now sits tied with Lillard for second behind Stephen Curry). Teams have adjusted, and the last three games Matthews has practically worn his defender as a second set of clothing when he is behind the arc. He adjusted with more drives and mid-range twos, and ended up with a 57% shooting percentage. The downside is he went from averaging 1.25 turnovers per game to 3 per game over his last four games.
His adjustments have been spot on, but those turnovers need to come down, especially from a pass-second role.
Last Week: 22-52 (42.3%) shooting, 12-14 free throws, 32 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
Stock Watch: UP
If the Boston game showed anything, it is that eventually Aldridge will beat you. He missed his first seven shots, and was just 4-of-13 at the half. A lot of players would feel like crawling into a ball and crying, and would start throwing everything at the rim in order to recover. Instead, Aldridge started grabbing every rebound in sight and diving for loose balls to set his teammates up for good shots. He ended up with a season-high 14 rebounds, and a reminder to the world that even when his go-to 18-foot shot is not falling, he is still one of the best in the league.
Last Week: 1-3 shooting, 0-0 free throws, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 21 minutes
Stock Watch: DOWN
Barton had a night to forget against the Chicago Bulls, with 2 points, 1 assist, 3 turnovers and a staggering -21 plus/minus defensive rating in just one half. The -21 is not the lowest for a player off the bench this season, as that safely belongs to the -39 of Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers against the Dallas Mavericks on November 13th. The lowest for a player on a team not designed to lose is the -34 of Mike Scott of the Atlanta Hawks. Yet Barton's -21 is the lowest for any player on the winning team this season. The closest was a -17 of Leandro Barbosa of the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 16th.
Last Week: 17-34 (50%) shooting, 7-8 free throws, 21 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers in 56 minutes
Stock Watch: UP
Chris Kaman is a scoring machine. The team knew this when he was brought to Portland. He averages 11.7 point per game for his career. I do not think anyone predicted this kind of output from a reserve center. He has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games, and has failed to reach double digits just three times. In an odd statistical quirk, he was the only Blazer to hit a field goal in every quarter against Boston. In fact, he has a bucket in 13 of his last 14 quarters. Not bad for a reserve center.