Time for our weekly Stock Watch.
Stats are reflected from Monday, March 2nd to Sunday, March 8th
Last Week: 16-46 (34.8%) shooting, 6-20 (30%) threes, 31 rebounds, 17 assists, 12 turnovers
Raise your hand if you predicted that Lillard would have more rebounds in one game last week (18) than he would have made field goals the entire week (16). Teammates and coaches complimented Lillard on his willingness to help out in other facets of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers when his shot was not falling (1-for-13). While his shooting numbers appear to be healthier, looks can be deceiving. Five of his six made shots against Minnesota on Saturday came when the Timberwolves defense simply allowed Lillard to drive for easy buckets, knowing that only threes would get Portland back into the game. Take away those numbers, and Lillard's shooting percentage drops to 27.5% for last week. With that in mind, the Blazers were still adjusting to a lineup without Wesley Matthews. Lillard will sort his shot out in time.
Last Week: 29-66 (43.9%) shooting, 8-10 free throws, 29 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers
In the many ways you can describe the play of Aldridge, "volume shooter" is not one of them. Yet a fun fact for when Aldridge hoists a ton of shots: the Blazers are 4-1 this season when Aldridge takes 25 or more shots, including the win over the Clippers last week where Aldridge fired a season-high 30. Three of those four wins came against teams with winning records. Aldridge took 25 or more shots four times in the playoffs last season, with three of them being wins against Houston. The Blazers were 13-6 last year when Aldridge launched 25 or more shots. For Portland's all-star forward, the more the merrier.
Last Week: 9-28 (32.1%) shooting, 4-12 threes, 7 rebounds, 0 steals, 4 turnovers in 94 minutes
The new arrival from Denver cooled off somewhat in his second week with the team. Turnovers were an issue versus the Clippers, and he was never able to find his shot against the Mavericks. He did a reasonable "Iron Man" impression starting for Matthews against the Timberwolves, scoring 14 while shooting 3-of-5 from three, but he did not contribute a rebound or steal and just one assist and found himself in foul trouble. As he becomes more comfortable with the Portland offense, his peripheral numbers should climb.
Last Week: 7-15 (46.7%) shooting, 5-10 threes, 2 rebounds, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers in 31 minutes
While Wright provided some good scoring in relief of LaMarcus Aldridge, his lack of rebounds is disconcerting. He grabbed just two rebounds last week, including against Minnesota where Nikola Pekovic had seven offensive rebounds in one quarter. Mind you Pekovic did that against Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman, but Wright needs to be able to contribute on the defensive glass, or Portland will continue to get burned by second chance opportunities.
NEW BENCH RANKINGS
1) Chris Kaman
Last Week: 1
Kaman continues to see the lion's share of bench minutes, and has averaged a consistent eight points and seven rebounds over the last six games.
2) Steve Blake
Last Week: 3
Blake has averaged exactly three points per game over the last six games, but with wildly variable assist numbers. On the plus side, he did not commit a turnover last week.
3) Dorell Wright
Last Week: 7
Wright took the minutes as the substitute for LaMarcus Aldridge, and made the most of it with eight points in back-to-back games.
4) CJ McCollum
Last Week: 5
With Wesley Matthews out for the season, Arron Afflalo is starting. As the backup shooting guard, CJ will have to regain his form from just before the All-Star Break, where he averaged nine points per game over a four game stretch.
5) Alonzo Gee
Last Week: 8
Gee has piled on massive dunks since getting time on the court for Portland, but his ability to shoot and solid on-ball defending is why he is seeing more minutes.
6) Meyers Leonard
Last Week: 4
Leonard was MIA last week, playing just four minutes. The Oklahoma City and Sacramento games exposed weaknesses that Leonard has to work through. Namely, rebound control and ball security.
7) Joel Freeland
Last Week: 6
Despite being healthy enough to come off the injured list, Freeland has not seen meaningful minutes since his injury.
8) Allen Crabbe
Last Week: 9
Crabbe is active again with the injury to Matthews, but has not seen much play to this point.