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Portland Trail Blazers Stock Watch: One Week to Go

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With just one week to go before the playoffs return to Rip City, which players are showing they are ready to go?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Here's our weekly look at the performance of key players for the Portland Trail Blazers during the last week.

Stats are reflected from Monday, March 30th to Monday, April 6th (5 Games)

Damian Lillard

Last Week: 43-88 (48.8%) shooting, 15-34 (44.1%) threes, 28 assists, 15 rebounds, 11 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

Lillard was on a quest this week to prove that his shot has not walked away from him into the sunset. Terrific performances resulted in Portland going 3-2 at an important juncture in the season. If there is any issue, it is the relative absence of "Lillard Time" as the fans know it. In both Portland losses, Lillard shot below average in the fourth quarter: 2-of-5 against Brooklyn (before garbage time) and 1-of-4 against the Los Angeles Clippers. While it is nice to see him spread the scoring throughout the game rather than just the fourth quarter, having access to that next "crunch time" level in the playoffs with be invaluable to Portland's success.

Nicolas Batum

Last Week: 17-34 (50%) shooting, 11-20 threes, 24 rebounds, 16 assists, 6 turnovers

Stock Watch: UP

Nice to see Batum's back is feeling better. For the second time since the start of March, Batum averaged 17 points over three games. He had not done that during any three game stretch before March. Even when he fell back to single-digits against the Lakers and Hornets, his rebound and assist numbers stayed good and he cut down on his turnovers. Batum missing shots is actually a good thing for the Blazers because it means that he is trusting his back and wrist enough to take them. A fully confident Batum will be key for Portland going into the post-season.

CJ McCollum

Last Week: 27-50 (54%) shooting, 7-15 threes, 17 rebounds, 6 steals, 6 turnovers in 133 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

So it turns out CJ McCollum is not cooling off from his last two weeks. He has scored in double-figures in 7 of his last 11 games, including a career-high 27 on 10-of-16 shooting in Portland's evisceration of the Los Angeles Lakers. McCollum is putting up similar numbers to those posted in March and April by Mo Williams last season. Remember, this is still his first full season in the NBA. McCollum still needs to work on finding a shot for himself when defenders clamp down. He has a tendency to try and force his way through the lane, which he simply cannot do at his size, and it often results in blocked shots or turnovers.

Meyers Leonard

Last Week: 12-21 (57.1%) shooting, 3-6 threes, 34 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers in 79 minutes

Stock Watch: UP

I have previous voiced a concern over Leonard's recent indecision regarding three point shots. This week the three was just an added bonus. He scored without it just fine. Leonard went entirely berserk against the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth quarter for 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He set a career-high in rebounds with 15, tied a career-high in assists with 4, and came within one of his career-high for steals with 2. He showed impressive lane intensity, forcing his way to the hoop and challenging defenders who got in his way. If his momentum was stopped, he tended to turn the ball over (three times on the night). After one turnover he pouted to the referee about being fouled, resulting in a fast break for the Nets. Still, this is a new level of play for Leonard, and if he keeps this up, Portland's bench depth will have skyrocketed.

Joel Freeland

Last Week: 7-15 (46.7%) shooting, 0-0 free throws, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 turnover in 43 minutes

Stock Watch: DOWN

Since being hailed as a hero in Portland for standing up to Shawne Williams in a headbutt contest, Freeland's aggressiveness seems to have gone up. Half of his games last week involved 4 fouls, including 3 in less than 2 minutes versus Brooklyn. This was especially problematic as Portland was without LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Kaman, and Dorell Wright on the front line. On the offensive end, Freeland's mid-range shot has been absent (only one of his seven made shots last week was from further out than eight feet), though that could be blamed on a lack of minutes.