Trail Blazers' 3 Biggest disappointments, 3 Most pleasant surprises of 2023-24 season

It was a down season, but Portland had a few ups, too.
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Shaedon Sharpe's injury

Sharpe's injury stings more than any other malady the Trail Blazers had to deal with this season. His explosion at the end of '22-23 had fans, and surely the organization, excited about the leap he could make in his sophomore campaign. Sure enough, the 20-year-old was forced into a featured offensive role after Simons got hurt in the first game of the year and excelled.

Through 21 games after he replaced Ant in the starting lineup, Shaedon averaged 19.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 37 percent from three on more than six attempts per game. He averaged 4.5 free throw attempts and hit better than 82 percent of them. The jump everyone wanted from Sharpe had happened.

Then he injured a key muscle in his core. He tried to play through it but was obviously hampered. Eventually, he had surgery and never came back.

Three more months to build on an already promising second season would have done wonders for Sharpe and three more months to build chemistry with Henderson, Simons, Ayton and the rest of the Trail Blazers' future foundation would have bled right into next season. At least he's heading into the summer with a clean bill of health and the chance to make another leap in 2024-25.