What are experts saying about the Blazers’ players heading into Week 6?
As has normally been the case with the Portland Trail Blazers, it hasn’t taken long for the injury bug to sneak his way into the equation and bite away. And just has history has had it, the lone, remaining constant has been Damian Lillard.
Experts are expecting the recent injuries to thrust Lillard into another one of his brilliant, one-man scoring monsoon acts, the way he did just a calendar year ago. That bodes well, considering he’s already a fixture on most Most Valuable Player ladders.
Basketball Reference’s 2020-21 Most Valuable Player Award tracker has him locked into the No. 10 spot, with higher usage on the rise. Anecdotally, that’s sort of unwanted.
This felt like the year in which Lillard would’ve been able to get the proper rest heading into a postseason, both on the backs of a strong team record and added depth. This far, it’s been more of the same. He’s sixth in the league in minutes played per game at 36.3 — just one minute off last season’s NBA leading 37.5 mark — and No. 14 in usage.
Given what he produced this week, it should be interesting to see where he ranks on experts’ charts going forward. HoopsHabit’s Duncan Smith held his season to high esteem, granting him the No. 4 spot on last week’s list, and HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina threw him a bone with the No. 11 mark last week.
With his usage rating well-documented today, the best could be yet to come. The six-time All-Star has proven he can take on the onus of raising eyebrows through his offensive mastery. And, he has a gritty crew of veterans who know their role. Now, all that’s left is to try and lay the SmackDown! over the upcoming six-game roadie.