3 Blazers who could explode over the final 10 games of the season a la Shaedon Sharpe

Shaedon Sharpe went off at the end of last season. Can any of Portland's young players do the same?
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

Shaedon Sharpe turned on the jets over the final 10 games of his rookie season. Once the Trail Blazers went into full tank mode, Sharpe became Portland's No. 1 offensive option and averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 38 percent from three on more than eight attempts per game. It was a sign that the 20 year old had superstar potential.

Shaedon carried that momentum into his sophomore year and played at a similarly high level before an adductor injury, and eventually surgery to correct it, slowed him down.

With the Trail Blazers still clearly in development mode and a tank that started even earlier than last season because of injuries to regular starters, Portland's young players have a headstart to accomplishing what Sharpe did at the end of last year.

With 10 games left in the regular season, here are three Blazers who could potentially take the same leap.

Dalano Banton

Portland's lone trade-deadline acquisition almost immediately blew past expectations. In two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Dalano Banton averaged 3.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists with shooting splits of 42/28/63. In 15 games with the Trail Blazers, he's averaging 15.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists while hitting more than 35 percent of his 5.0 3-point attempts per game.

He's playing more minutes and more freely on a team with no expectations, two opportunities he never got in Toronto. But Banton is showing that he has some upside if given the chance to keep developing. His physical traits as a long 6-foot-9 point guard are tantalizing and he's still only 24 years old.

His ceiling isn't as high as Sharpe's, but at this point, no one knows quite what that ceiling is. He has a chance to show out over these last 10 games and prove his worth as a potential piece of Portland's young core.

Anfernee Simons

Anfernee Simons is more established than a player like Banton, but he's had a season filled with injuries and inconsistency. He's averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists, and despite taking more shots than he did in his first five seasons, is shooting well with 43/39/92 splits.

He's also missed 26 of Portland's 72 games and is currently on the injury list as questionable.

Ant is experiencing the growing pains of becoming a team's go-to scorer and primary ball handler. Understandably, he's hit some bumps in the road as opposing defenses gameplan to stop him. But if he can get back on the floor for the Blazers' final 10 contests and have a Sharpe-like bump in production - of which he's proven capable - it could set the stage for a big season in 2024-25.

Scoot Henderson

This would be the ideal scenario for both the Trail Blazers and their prized rookie point guard. If Simons' season has had peaks and valleys, Scoot's has had mountains and gorges. An end-of-season leap would do wonders to calm some anxiety.

To put it gently, the third pick in the 2023 draft struggled through the first month of the season. After he returned from injury, head coach Chauncey Billups decided to bring Henderson off the bench. He showed gradual signs of improvement from December through February and was playing well enough that Billups gave him his starting spot back on Feb. 15.

Then Scoot got hurt again, missed eight games and hasn't been able to pick up where he left off.

The 20-year-old is beginning to show signs of life again, though. In his last four games, all starts, Henderson is averaging 19.8 points, 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 40 percent from three on 5.0 attempts a night. If he gets more time on the ball over Portland's last 10 games and continues to post stat lines like that - or *crosses fingers* even better ones - it will be a carbon copy of the jump Sharpe made to close out his rookie season.