Portland Trail Blazers fans looking for silver linings in the team’s late-season losing streak might take solace in Shaedon Sharpe ranking 3rd overall in the CBS NBA Rookie Rankings for this week. The shooting guard has averaged 23.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 45.2% from the floor and 42.4% from the three-point arc during that span, drawing praise from CBS’s Jasmyn Wimbish.
While the Trail Blazers likely didn’t envision playing Sharpe this much down the stretch of the season, as the team had playoff aspirations, it has given Portland an opportunity to see what it has in their young rookie. With all the talk surrounding what the Blazers should do with Lillard moving forward, Sharpe has shown Portland that in the event that Lillard does get traded, at least the team won’t be starting from scratch in its rebuild. A backcourt of Sharpe and Anfernee Simons would be a solid starting point for the Blazers, plus whatever they get back in return for Lillard. Portland may not be ready to have that conversation, but in the event that it happens, the Blazers can take solace in knowing they have two quality young players ready to take over.
In the meantime, Sharpe still ranks 12th on the NBA.com Kia Rookie Ladder, which measures players of the course of a season. Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic and Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead that list. Sharpe may be able to take a large leap if he continues scoring 20+ over Portland’s final six games.