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Trail Blazers Stock Watch: Supporting Big Men

With the injuries to five different Portland forwards or centers, who were the players that stepped up most?

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Stats are reflected from Monday, January 19th through Sunday, January 25th

Will Barton

Last Week: 6-18 (33%) shooting, 5-7 free throws, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers in 61 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

The curious case of "The Thrill". He has recorded as many DNPs this season as Robin Lopez... except Barton has not been injured this season. Yet when injuries ravaged the Blazers roster, Barton played crunch time minutes versus Washington on Saturday (a season high 22), and it paid off. While his total line from the game was not impressive visually (4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot), Barton's strong defense late in the game was the x-factor. His long reach and quickness enabled him to keep Martell Webster and Bradley Beal contained in the second half. More importantly, he showed a new level of patience, holding opposing players in place and denying them drives instead of going for steals and fast break opportunities. Coach Terry Stotts showed a high level of confidence in Barton, and Barton's new defensive strengths show why.

Meyers Leonard

Last Week: 9-16 (56.2%) shooting, 4-8 threes, 19 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers in 84 minutes

Stock Watch: NO CHANGE

Leonard had yet another strong week in relief of the injured Lopez and Joel Freeland. The concern was the zero points on just one shot Wednesday in the loss in Phoenix. Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Suns swarmed the three point line and took away Leonard's advantage through the last three weeks: most interior defenders that Leonard is matched up against are reluctant to follow him to the outside. While he has been attempting to punish big players for attacking him at the three point line by driving past them, it has come with mixed success. If Leonard can put the option of driving into his offensive repertoire, his level of play will skyrocket.

Thomas Robinson

Last Week: 9-14 (64.3%) shooting, 4-9 free throws, 29 rebounds, 4 blocks, 7 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

Robinson did everything short of attempting the final shot Thursday versus Boston. He recorded a final line of 9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and even an assist. He has always been a fearsome rebounder, which Portland lacks when Aldridge is off the floor, but his renewed scoring touch has been a huge boon. Ask Kris Humphires about Robinson's dunking ability (soon to appear in poster stores near you). The one-handed jam that Robinson put on Humphries Saturday versus Washington brought the Moda Center crowd to its feet. Robinson actually had a poor night versus the Wizards outside of his massive dunk, but he has been essential to Portland's game plan with the injuries.

Dorell Wright

Last Week: 10-24 (41.7%) shooting, 7-16 threes, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

A strange week for "The Wrightmare". He got the start versus Phoenix, supplying a season-high 15 points and 6 assists in a strong game starting for Aldridge. Coach Stotts rotated him out against Boston and he barely saw the court, playing just ten minutes. The Blazers went back to him versus Washington, and Wright's strong play in the second half helped Portland rally past the Wizards. His rebound on the final Portland possession of the game sealed the win, and is exactly what the Blazers have been missing in recent games. Wright has been seeing time at the power forward position, but if Nicolas Batum misses extended time, Wright would be a strong option to play small forward as well.

CJ McCollum

Last Week: 6-17 (35.2%) shooting, 2-5 threes, 0 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers in 38 minutes

Stock Watch: DOWN

Portland fans are used to aggravating inconsistency from the youngest players. McCollum is the latest to mix games that show off the player's potential with a slew of learning experiences. The fourth quarter versus Boston is a good example. With Portland nursing a three point lead, McCollum missed a long jumper, which Boston turned into points. McCollum tried to get those points back with a drive, but right into Boston center Kelly Olynyk for a block and an eventual shot clock violation. McCollum stole the ball from the Celtics on the following possession, only to pass it right back to Celtics guard Marcus Smart. He would finish the game with 10 points, but only one steal and no recorded assists or rebounds.