The NBA regular season is a quarter of the way through. Which 3 Portland Trail Blazers players have been their best at the start of the season?
The Portland Trail Blazers are now a quarter of the way through the 2021 NBA regular season. Though it has been an up and down season for the Blazers with new players being integrated, and players getting injured or coming back from injury, they still have an eight and six record post the matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Blazers have had to rely a little more heavily on role players to start the year, but they have still had some standouts to start the season.
Which 3 Portland Trail Blazers have been their best players to start the season?
#3 – Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter probably didn’t expect to be one of the Blazers’ most important players this season. Still, because of Jusuf Nurkic‘s injury and before that, the time it took for him to get back into match fitness, Kanter has had to play significant minutes.
Without Kanter’s production, the Blazers wouldn’t have the record they currently possess.
Kanter’s massive 12 points and 15 rebounds with 5 blocks were a huge part of why they beat the Atlanta Hawks.
Through 13 games, Kanter is averaging 10.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, on River 60 percent from the field, in just 20 minutes a game. Included in these marks, is Kanter leading the league in offensive rebound percentage too.
His energy, offensive rebounding, and efficient finishing, has helped the Blazers have a real physical presence. With Nurk out for 8 weeks with a broken wrist, Kanter now has a chance to really stamp his authority on the Blazers starting five.
As the only starting quality big man on the Blazers, Kanter is an important team member.
#2 – Damian Lillard
It’s not often that Damian Lillard is the second-best player on the Blazers, but it isn’t because he played poorly. Lillard has started the season well, averaging 28 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists as the Blazers have won eight of their first fourteen games. His jumper has started dropping over the last four or five games too, as he is up to 37 percent on the season. This mark is right on his career average of 37. Though Dame’s three-pointer isn’t where it was last year, this is a dangerous sign for other teams.
Even as his threes haven’t been dropping, Dame is getting to the line at rates never seen in his career yet. He is 2nd in made free throws this season, with an impressive percentage of 94.5 percent.
With McCollum now out for a month, Dame is the most important player on this team.
#1 – CJ McCollum
Devastatingly for CJ McCollum, he has been ruled out for a month with a hairline fracture to his left foot. Before this, McCollum had been the best player on the Blazers, and he was in career-best form.
Through 12 games, McCollum was leading the league in made three-pointers at a wicked efficiency rate of 44.1 percent, and had the second-lowest turnover percentage in the league.
Counting stat-wise, CJ was averaging 26.7 points, 5 assists, and 1.3 steals. All career highs.
He had been massive in the clutch while also altering his shot profile to include more three-pointers. CJ had been better than Dame so far in the season and took his game to a new level. He was also certain to be an All-Star for the first time with this type of play.
Hopefully, for CJ, he can get straight back to this form when he returns after what should be just a month out.