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Portland Trail Blazers Stock Watch: The Week Without Aldridge

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Evaluating five Blazers who either stepped up or stepped back last week.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It is Week 9 of the Stock Watch.  With Portland missing its leading scorer in LaMarcus Aldridge, who held the fort to keep the Blazers on the winning track?

Stats are reflected from Monday, December 22nd through Sunday, December 28th

Wesley Matthews

Last Week: 32-64 (50%) shooting, 21-42 threes, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 turnovers

Stock Watch: WAY UP

In a week where LaMarcus Aldridge missed three games due to an upper respiratory infection, Matthews became the focal point of the Blazers offense. What is truly astounding is not how many threes Matthews shot during the week, but how accurate he was. The last time anyone in the NBA attempted at least 14 threes in a single game and hit 50% of them was Stephen Curry versus the Blazers on April 13th of last season. Matthews accomplished that feat with a 7-for-14 night from long range in Portland's rout of Philadelphia on Friday. His 39.8% shooting percentage from three leads all players that have taken at least 190 three-point shots except one: Damian Lillard at 39.9%. For comparison, Curry is at 38.5%, James Harden is at 34%, and Ryan Anderson is at 33.2%, and Matthews has taken 20 more shots than any of them.

Nicolas Batum

Last Week: 12-19 (63.1%) shooting, 6-12 threes, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

Portland fans have to be happy to see some of the old Batum in action last week. The French forward has spent this season dealing with wrist and knee injuries, plus a long-stint at the World Cup of Basketball with the French National Team. So it was uplifting to see Batum take some of the scoring load off of Matthews and Lillard while Portland is without their leading scorer. The 17 points he scored Sunday night against New York were a season-high, and the first time he has scored in double digits in back-to-back games since November. Batum is a career 36.2% three-point shooter, but his 5-of-7 from three against New York was only the third time he has hit more than 50% in a single game this season. Portland has the most wins in the league with Batum less than 100%. If he is back to his form from last season, the Western Conference should be afraid.

Joel Freeland

Last Week: 10-22 (45.4%) shooting, 4-4 free throws, 37! rebounds, 4 blocks, 6 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

Freeland has been a serviceable backup to Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman this season, but showed this week that the third-year player from England can be a capable starter. His 17 rebounds versus Philadelphia were a career-high. He followed it up by recording his first career double-double against New York with 10 points and 10 rebounds, tying a career-high in field goals made in the process. With Robin Lopez out for at least another month, Freeland's contributions on the defensive glass will be invaluable to Portland's success.

Thomas Robinson

Last Week: 5-15 (33%) shooting, 2-4 free throws, 16 rebounds, 2 blocks, 8 turnovers in 54 minutes

Stock Watch: DOWN

After a terrific week that left fans drooling on where Robinson's potential could take him, the former Top-5 draft pick fell back to Earth. While the Blazers as a team had a rough night against Houston, Robinson had the roughest. He failed to score, only recorded three rebounds, did not block a shot, committed three fouls and turned the ball over twice in just 13 minutes. He got back on track against the 76ers with seven points and two blocks, but still committed three turnovers. Robinson's jumping ability and energy have been a boost off the bench all season for Portland, but some ups and downs are expected from a young player still trying to put it all together.

Victor Claver

Last Week: 4-11 (36.3%) shooting, 2-3 threes, 11 rebounds, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers in 40 minutes

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

There was a rare sighting of Claver on the court for Portland last week. After being inactive for the first 28 games of the season, Claver found playing time with Aldridge, Lopez and Chris Kaman missing time last week as Kaman was with his newborn son. He played efficiently against Philadelphia with five points and three rebounds, though he continues to get in foul trouble. He committed five against the 76ers and three versus the Knicks. Last season he played more than ten minutes in nine different games, and was in foul trouble in three of those. Claver has been unhappy with his playing time this season, but the Blazers need all the bench depth they can get.