3 Ways Portland Trail Blazers can shake up starters after Lillard injury

Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Damian Lillard will reportedly be out for 1-2 weeks with a calf strain. Before the Portland Trail Blazers go on their first road trip of the season, they will have one final home game against the Houston Rockets. The injury raises questions on how to fill the minutes within the starting lineup and how to manage the rotation while Lillard misses action.

1. Shadeon Sharpe Gets an Opportunity To Show He Belongs

Shaedon Sharpe has impressed early in the season, earning the trust of Coach Billups. He has seen frequent opportunity through the first five games of the season, and his flashes of elite athleticism have all of Rip City buzzing.

In the turnover-filled loss, Sharpe was a bright spot, finishing the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, and a steal in 18 minutes. Sharpe may be inserted into the sixth-man role if Winslow’s number is called, but Sharpe getting more run with the veteran players may be something that helps him elevate even sooner.

2. Move Josh Hart to the Two and Insert Justise Winslow at the Three

Coach Billups has trusted Justise Winslow to come in as a defensive spark and Impromptu lead guard if foul trouble follows Dame or Ant early in a game. Inserting Winslow at the three while Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart fill out the backcourt could bode well for a dynamic defensive duo that hustles hard and can create havoc within the passing lanes, with Winslow and Hart both almost averaging two steals a game early in the season.

3. Nassir Little Is Given An Opportunity

Little is another candidate for the sixth-man role if Winslow is inserted into the starting lineup as well. Little has been struggling early this season and boosting him into the starting lineup may be what he needs to elevate his play. Little was tenth in rebounding for rebounds per game for players under 6’7.”

Trendon Watford will more than likely see his minutes increased, but he will not be inserted into starting lineup with him just returning from injury. There are options for Coach Billups. Winslow starting seems like the logical thing to do, however, with it being early in the season, you never know how coaches want to shake up their lineups to throw off the schematics of their opposition as well.