For the first time in his four-game stretch as a starter in the Portland Trail Blazers’ late-season tanking efforts, rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe struggled mightily. He picked up several early fouls and had difficulty finding his shot against the New Orleans Pelicans.
But whether he got hot or not, the team was doomed to lose. They did so in spectacular fashion, falling 124-90.
Despite the challenging game, though, Sharpe could benefit from the chaos and come out of this contest with a chip on his shoulder.
After the game, Danny Marang of 1080 The Fan asked Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups if it’s good for guys like Sharpe to get trounced once in a while. The answer was a resounding, “Yes.”
Chauncey, I don’t know of a way to ask this other than is it sometimes good for a young guy to get his teeth kicked in?
Of course. Of course, it’s just part of the development phase. You’re not going to always have those great nights. I knew at halftime – frustrated, four fouls, they face guarding you, can’t get a shot off, and just gave him a couple things to try to do in the second half. I’m pretty sure that was the first time he’s probably felt that way in his life, you know, of struggling on both sides of the ball like that, but it’s a part of it. It’s part of it, man, it’s part of it. He understands and knows that when you become a real, real player, like, we’re going to be depending on you to do it every night. Every single night. Not two out of three, not one out of three. Every night. So, this was good. I’m pretty sure he’ll remember this game for a long, long time.
Prior to this outing, Sharpe had averaged 25.7 points over the last three games, meeting or setting career highs on each occasion. Sharpe was held to just 12 points in 35 minutes on Monday.
The good news – aside from the lighting of a potential fire in the 19-year-old – is that the Trail Blazers have fallen even further in the standings as they look to improve their 2023 NBA Draft position.
Catch their next effort tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) against the Sacramento Kings.