Portland Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe is starting to turn heads in the early portion of the 2023-24 regular season. With former franchise leader Damian Lillard in Milwaukee, lead scorer Anfernee Simons out with an injury, and super-rookie Scoot Henderson not producing stats (and also injured himself), Sharpe has become one of the focal points of Portland’s offense.
Today Quinn Everts of BasketballNews published an article looking at interesting stats jumping off the page during the first eight games of the year, and Sharpe featured prominently in his analysis.
Portland Trail Blazers sophomore Shaedon Sharpe has been assisted on 52% of his made baskets this season, down considerably from the 67% he was assisted on last season. That number dropping, combined with Sharpe’s points per game rising (20.1 PPG, up from 9.9 last season), allows us to infer a few things.
First, it shows that Sharpe’s role has increased significantly, which we expected. With Damian Lillard gone and Anfernee Simons sidelined for a few months with an injury, Sharpe was the obvious next man up regarding shot attempts. And the 20-year-old isn’t afraid to put up shots, as he’s attempting over 15 per game.
Secondly, it shows that Sharpe is getting his own buckets. His self-creation ability is one of the main reasons he was the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft – despite not playing any college ball – and he’s starting to turn that creation potential into a real skill on a nightly basis.
Sharpe’s development was nowhere near guaranteed coming into the season. The 7th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is considered a prominent player, but also a project, having not played any games in college, waiting only a single year before entering the NBA. His development on both ends of the floor is one of the bright spots in Portland’s 3-5 start to the year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ improved defense and the play of NBA stars Anthony Davis and Chris Paul also get treatment in Everts’ piece, along with plenty of other tidbits.