clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Portland Trail Blazers Stock Watch: Man in the Middle Edition

With two of Portland's big men missing due to injury, how did the bench perform to keep Portland near the top of the Western Conference?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A 4-0 week, including a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, saw some of the Blazers bench step up, some step back, in our weekly Stock Watch.

Stats are reflected from Monday, January 5th through Sunday, January 11th

Chris Kaman

Last Week: 16-35 (45.7%) shooting, 5-5 free throws, 35 rebounds, 7 blocks, 8 turnovers

Stock Watch: DOWN

Kaman has done a lot of things right since taking over the starting center role in the wake of the Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland injuries. He continues to shoot well, though not at the same psuedo-LaMarcus-Aldridge level he showed at the beginning of the year. He is still a fearsome shot blocker but the turnovers are killing both him and the offense. He averages 1.7 turnovers a game, extrapolated to 4.1 per 48 minutes. He averages the third most turnovers of all bench players in the NBA. Against Orlando on Saturday, he committed five fouls and five turnovers in just 20 minutes. This is not a new thing for Kaman. From 2005-2010, he averaged between 2.3 and 2.9 turnovers per game as a starter. Kaman has proven effective as a catch-and-shoot player, and Portland should make more use of that to limit his turnover potential.

Meyers Leonard

Last Week: 14-24 (58.3%) shooting, 5-11 threes, 31 rebounds, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers in 80 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

The league is finally learning that leaving Meyers all alone behind the three-point line is a recipe for disaster. In both games against the Lakers this week, Carlos Boozer stepped away from Leonard then watched as Meyers drained threes over his head. While the three-point shot has been the biggest tool in Leonard's arsenal, this week he showed some new tricks. He crashed the boards with more intensity, fighting for rebounds with a ferocity seldom seen before. Versus Miami on Monday, he grabbed a rebound over two Heat players before attempting to put it back on Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside blocked the dunk attempt, but it was still a positive step for Leonard. Against the Lakers on Sunday, he realized he would not be able to rebound over Jordan Hill, so he reached over Hill's shoulder and tipped the ball down to LaMarcus Aldridge, who hit Nicolas Batum for a three in the corner. Leonard's improvement is a great sign for Portland's depth going forward.

CJ McCollum

Last Week: 1-11 (09.9%) shooting, 0-3 threes, 1 assist, 2 turnovers in 39 minutes

Stock Watch: DOWN

This was not a week McCollum is going to want to remember. Even with Allen Crabbe out for the final two games, giving McCollum plenty of playing time, CJ was ineffective. He accomplished a rare feat, being the only Blazers player to post a negative in plus/minus in all four games despite the Blazers winning all of them. While at least two of his misses were good shots that simply rolled off the rim, his defense was sub-par and he missed several shots that are well within his comfort zone.

Steve Blake

Last Week: 7-23 (30.4%) shooting, 4-13 threes, 13 assists, 4 turnovers in 79 minutes

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

The second game of the week against the Lakers did wonders for Blake's stock. Before the game in Los Angeles, he was shooting 4-of-15. Scoring 9 on Sunday really helped. Blake has recently been playing as a bench version of Nicolas Batum, which is a telling sign for both players. While leadership and passing are the two biggest reasons for his time on the court, he is still averaging 1.3 turnovers per game this season. Many of those turnovers come from forced passes or ill-advised drops down low. Last week's assist numbers modulated downward with the bench's poor shooting. But even when that's the case, Blake needs to be able to hit the outside shots when the others cannot.

Thomas Robinson

Last Week: 5-10 (50%) shooting, 1-2 free throws, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover in 37 minutes

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

It has been a puzzling week for Robinson. Outside of a strong second quarter versus Orlando, T-Rob has been inconsistent. His defensive rating has been lower than normal. He struggled to get rebounds he normally snares. Yet he has shown the athleticism that makes him so prized on several dunks. He also cut down his turnovers. Robinson spent most of the week in a rotation with Dorell Wright, and it remains to be seen which player will lose time when Joel Freeland returns.