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Portland Trail Blazers Stock Watch: Players to Watch After Lopez Injury

Which players are moving up after a hard fought road trip? Which players could step up with Robin Lopez out?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It is Week Seven of the Stock Watch!  Now that the Blazers have returned from their trip, we can look at how they performed, plus a look at some players that will see more play with the injury to Robin Lopez.

Stats are reflected from Monday, December 8th through Sunday, December 14th

LaMarcus Aldridge

Last Week: 34-82 (41.4%) shooting, 12-13 free throws, 46 rebounds, 4 blocks, 12 turnovers

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

Hard to give a negative week to someone who went completely berserk against Chicago on Friday, but the week was not entirely positive for LaMarcus Aldridge either. While his shooting output against the Bulls was amazing, his performance against Minnesota will go down as a career oddity. Not only did his 10 point, 9 rebound evening snap his streak of double-doubles at ten, the five turnovers he committed versus the Timberwolves were the most in a single game since his 30 point, 21 rebound outing last season versus Golden State on November 23rd. This time he did not get the benefit of a career-high 19 free throws and the Blazers fell in a winnable game against the depleted Timberwolves.

Damian Lillard

Last Week: 35-81 (43.2%) shooting, 10-31 threes, 20 rebounds, 21 assists, 8 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

When Lillard is shooting and hitting a lot from behind the arc, the Blazers are usually in good shape to win. Yet the loss to Chicago left the Blazers 5-6 when Lillard attempts at least 10 threes and hits at least half of them. Not that Portland will complain, as the last time he did it was May 2nd at home versus Houston. (Some fans might remember that game...) Even with the losses to the Bulls and T-Wolves, Lillard had a great shooting week and reduced his turnovers substantially.

Chris Kaman

Last Week: 17-34 (50%) shooting, 0-2 free throws, 18 rebounds, 7 blocks, 10 turnovers in 76 minutes

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

Kaman has seen a drop in his shooting percentage lately. That's coming from his increased usage of ranged shots when the offense is not flowing. He took four shots from longer than 13 feet against Indiana, missing them all. Three of them came with more than 10 seconds left on the shot clock. Versus Minnesota, he took four shots from further than 11 feet and hit one. Though Kaman shot well against the Detroit Pistons, he took three jumpers from further than 11 feet, hitting one of them. His post moves this season have been dominant. Teams are adjusting to that, but throwing up long shots that simply are not going down is not going to improve his production.

Joel Freeland

Last Week: 4-8 (50%) shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 0 turnovers in 32 minutes


Freeland had a solid week in limited playing time. He did not come in for Aldridge in the first half as usual against Chicago, a decision that haunted the Blazers, though he played adequately in the second half. His rebounding has been good all season long and he is adding to his offensive game. He is a better ranged shooter than Kaman, though not by much. Asking Freeland to launch 12-foot jumpers is probably not a recipe for long-term success. With the injury to Robin Lopez, Freeland will see more time on the court, leading to a more conclusive assessment.

Meyers Leonard

Last Week: 0-2 shooting, 0-1 threes, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0 turnovers in 5 minutes

Stock Watch: DOWN

Yikes. It is not fair to place all the blame for Portland's defensive meltdown in the second quarter versus Chicago on the young center from Illinois, but the sequence of events that led to the Bulls taking the lead for good is worrying. After a Kirk Hinrich miss, Nikola Mirotic grabbed the rebound, missed a put back, grabbed it again while Kaman and Leonard were unable to box him out. Leonard fouled him on the next shot. Next possession, Mirotic drove past Leonard, forcing another shooting foul. Leonard missed a three on the next Portland possession, and then Taj Gibson shot over Kaman after Leonard lost contain on Mirotic. Overall, Leonard had a -16 plus-minus in only five minutes. That seems impossible. Lopez's injury will leave an opening that either Leonard or Thomas Robinson will fill. Based on how each played in their last games, it is hard to vote for Meyers.