clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Meyers Leonard Out of Rotation?

Meyers Leonard is healthy and ready to go, but the improved play of Noah Vonleh may keep him on the bench.

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

For now, Meyers Leonard may have fallen out of the Portland Trail Blazers’ rotation, according to Jason Quick of CSNNW. Leonard was leapfrogged by 21-year-old forward Noah Vonleh, who showed marked improvement in preseason play and shot a perfect 5-5 off the bench in the Trail Blazers’ regular season opener. Vonleh subsequently received minutes against the Clippers on Thursday. Leonard did not.

“I think in the past, if it were the same situation as right now, I probably would be upset, but right now I’m keeping an even-keel mindset,’’ Leonard said. “I’m staying focused and I understand it’s a long season. So I’m just going to come to work every day and do my best to prove myself to the coaches and players.’’

The Trail Blazers re-signed Leonard to a 4-year, $41 million contract in the off-season. Having not been a full participant through most of training camp as he recovered from shoulder surgery, and having missed two preseason games due to lower back stiffness, it makes sense that he would be edged by Vonleh at this stage.

Perhaps more than anything, this is a symptom of Portland’s frontcourt depth. Head coach Terry Stotts typically employs a nine or 10-man rotation, so with negligible talent drops at the fringe, we will likely see the last of the minutes go to whoever performs most consistently in practice and has the most upside. Expect the occasional DNP from Leonard until he can work his way into a timeshare situation or reclaim priority.