Bigger Role Candidate #4: Shaedon Sharpe
Of all of the players who graced the court for the Trail Blazers this year, the one who earned himself the most playing time next year was undoubtedly Shaedon Sharpe. It didn’t matter that he didn’t play a minute of college basketball at Kentucky and was regarded as one of the rawest lottery-level prospects in the draft; all Sharpe did was awe crowds and opponents with his high-flying play.
Sharpe just barely missed out on the NBA All-Rookie rosters, but he had one of the best closes to a season in recent memory. He stepped into the primary scoring role on the team and dazzled with clever fakes, hard drives, and deep jumpers that should make the Blazers seriously consider him as a potential fulcrum of their offense:
It’s hard to know exactly what kind of role Sharpe will have as next year’s roster isn’t finalized, but it will either be as a starter or the first player off the bench. If he starts, Sharpe will get to play as a tertiary creator next to Lillard and Grant, while his bench role would give him potentially more reps as a ball-handler to attack rims and showcase his immense unfinished potential.
Either way, Sharpe has earned a bigger role in Portland’s offense, which speaks to his ultimate potential to one day be the face of the franchise.