Thanks to 19.9 points per game and dunks caffeinated enough to require a warning label, Shaedon Sharpe has become well-known to Portland Trail Blazers fans. His fame is starting to leak beyond the boundaries of the Rose City, however, and not just because of his highlight reel package. When The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor ran down the slumps, jumps, and bumps of the seven most prominent NBA sophomores, Sharpe topped his list, falling firmly into the “jump” category.
O’Connor was mightily impressed by Sharpe’s showing in Portland’s 115-113 overtime victory against the Memphis Grizzlies last Friday night, detailing a litany of game-shaping moments:
During Friday’s in-season tournament game against the Grizzlies, Sharpe miraculously blocked a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime:
And then he followed that up by carrying the offense play after play, running pick-and-rolls, driving straight into reigning Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. to score a layup, and draining a 3-pointer off the dribble, then two late free throws, to help ice the game.
Sharpe appears more aggressive as a scorer this season, like on the drive against Jackson when he saw an opening and then attacked. He showed flashes of takeover ability with Lillard out of the picture last season, and now it looks like head coach Chauncey Billups has further empowered him to lead the offense. It helps that Sharpe is also playing more under control by dictating pace on the floor and making sound decisions as a passer.
Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons and Mark Williams of the Charlotte Hornets were the other players getting “jump” accolades on O’Connor’s list.