The Portland Trail Blazers have straddled for too long the line between rebuilding and going for it all. As a result, this has left them in disarray and a “no man’s land” situation. Damian Lillard has made it known that he has no desire to go through a rebuild in Portland, and rightfully so.
The Blazers have one of two decisions to make. The first option is to put their young assets on the trade block to build a championship contender around Lillard. That route would make rising stars Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons, as well as draft picks, likely available for trade discussions.
The second route would be to rebuild around their stars like Sharpe and Simons and their two first-round picks this season. If Portland decides to go that route, Lillard could be available for trade.
Regardless of what the Blazers decide, a few players either improved or hurt their trade value as a result of their performances this season. This article highlights those players and evaluates why they positively or negatively impacted their respective trade stocks.
One rating that’s often relied on amongst NBA fans and the media is FiveThiryEight’s RAPTOR player ratings. It’s a rating derived from calculating “each player’s plus-minus measurements and wins above replacement, which accounts for playing time.”
RAPTOR player ratings are often referenced throughout this article as an advanced statistic to support the claim that a player has improved or tanked their trade value this season.
That said, here are the three Blazers players who improved and two who tanked their trade value this season.
3 Blazers who improved their trade value in 2022-23
No. 1: Shaedon Sharpe
Shaedon Sharpe was the seventh overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft. Only 19 years old, Sharpe was given few minutes or opportunities to showcase his talent and potential early in the season for Portland. As a result, he doesn’t have very impressive season stats, and they certainly aren’t indicative of his ability.
Sharpe finished his rookie campaign averaging 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 22.2 minutes per game on 47/36/71 shooting splits.
Sharpe’s finish to the season is mainly responsible for him making this list as someone who improved their trade value. When the Blazers tanked at the end of the season for a better draft pick, they gave their younger players more opportunities to play.
In the Blazers’ final 10 games of the season, Sharpe finished with impressive averages of 23.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game on similar efficiency. In fact, in five of his final six games, Sharpe finished with at least 24 points.
Teams are aware of Sharpe’s finish to the season, and the Blazers will have a huge decision to make regarding his trade availability. He’s extremely young but has grown up and gotten comfortable quickly in the league.
The advanced statistics aren’t favorable for Sharpe, but that’s to be expected. He was a different player for most of the season due to opportunity, comfortability, pace of play, and other factors rookies experience as they adapt to the rigors of the NBA.
The final 10 games of the season seem more indicative of the type of sophomore season Sharpe will have. The Blazers have a rising star on their hands and will have to decide whether or not his timeline fits in with 32-year-old Damian Lillard’s.