The Portland Trail Blazers went 1-3 this week with their lone win coming against the Houston Rockets on the road in overtime. The Blazers began the week with a disappointing loss in a controversial game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then after winning against the Rockets, lost games to the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls.
Throughout the week, there were plenty of individual performances that stood out in one or two game sample sizes. However, the player who was able to string together the most impressive set of games is this week’s Blazer of the Week: Deandre Ayton.
Ayton averaged 16.3 points and 12.0 rebounds across four games this week, all while shooting a very efficient 59.2 percent from the field. Other than starting the week with just five points and seven rebounds against the Thunder, Ayton recorded a double-double in the final three games of the week.
Ayton has struggled with consistency at times this year and has looked frustrating at times as well. However, when he is at his best and fully locked in, this kind of play is something that can be expected on a more regular basis. He recorded 20 points in back-to-back games against the Spurs and Bulls, his first time accomplishing that as a Blazer.
He also looked solid, although not incredible, on the defensive end. While facing a lineup of very good centers, Ayton only really allowed Alperen Sengun to have a great game. Victor Wembanyama also had a good game, but not one of his best. Chet Holmgren’s impact on the game was minimized in the Thunder’s game against Portland, and Nikola Vucevic was decent, but not great when the Bulls traveled to Portland.
Ayton was able to defend these centers without fouling, something that he has struggled with at times this year. This week, however, he was able to stay on the court for long stretches without being forced to the bench.
Overall, this was one of Ayton’s best weeks as a Blazer so far in his tenure. He was able to minimize his weaknesses, while maximizing his strengths and helped the Blazers play four close games.
The honorable mention for this week is Anfernee Simons.
Simons had a pair of great games back-to-back with 33 and 40-point performances against the Rockets and Spurs respectively. He averaged 25.3 points and 7.0 assists through his four games this week and shot 48.6% from the field. Despite struggling for most of the game against the Bulls, Simons was able to hit a couple big shots in the fourth quarter, although the Blazers came up short. The biggest knocks on Simons this week were his turnovers and fouls. The numbers were not too bad, but they were a factor. He averaged 3.3 turnovers and 3.5 fouls per game, both well above his season averages.
Which Blazer impressed you the most this week? Let us know in the comments!