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Chauncey Billups: Shaedon Sharpe is ‘Answering the Bill’ in Tough Environments

Billups likes the rookie’s progress.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers fought hard with the healthy pieces left on their roster, but succumbed to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, 136-125. It was another big night for rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe and forward Kevin Knox, who combined for 56 points.

After the game, Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups was asked about Sharpe’s ability to counter defensive adjustments as he continues to grow late in the season. Billups credited the opportunity that tanki—pardon me—injuries created for the 19-year-old.

This is invaluable, the experience that Shaedon is getting these last 10-11 games, whatever it is. And he would have never gotten that anywhere. I could have waited and played him in the Summer League and he’d have been playing against kids his age, but he’s playing in some really tough environments against some tough teams that have some championship aspirations. And he’s answering the bill, man. We could have never gotten this experience anywhere and I’m happy that we’re able to do it.

Sharpe has started nine of the Trail Blazers’ last 10 games, having sat due to left knee tendinopathy against the San Antonio Spurs on April 6. Over that stretch, he has averaged 24.3 points and scored 20+ in all but one contest.

More than anything, the into-the-fire approach has shown that Sharpe is capable of learning quickly and adapting to adverse situations. As “The” guy in Portland for the last few weeks, he has played like the player Portland fans hoped the team had drafted last summer.

Catch him in action one more time as the Trail Blazers wrap up their season against the Golden State Warriors this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. (PDT).