Trail Blazers news: Reath career high, Rupert shows potential, Banton here to stay?

The latest Portland news after a short-handed loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Duop Reath, Portland Trail Blazers
Duop Reath, Portland Trail Blazers / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

Here's the latest Portland Trail Blazers news for March 5, including career games for Duop Reath and Rayan Rupert, and is it already time to make a decision on Dalano Banton's future?

Duop Reath scores career-high 26 points in loss to Timberwolves

Saying the Trail Blazers were short-handed against Minnesota last night is an understatement. Only Anfernee Simons was in the lineup as a regular starter (he was fantastic, by the way). Kris Murray, Dalano Banton, Jabari Walker and Duop Reath were the other starters; Rayan Rupert and Ashton Hagans led Portland in bench minutes.

Starting in place of Deandre Ayton and facing Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and the best defense in the NBA, Reath poured in a career-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 5-of-6 shooting from deep.

In three games since entering the starting five, Reath is averaging 18.7 points on 59 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from three. He's blocking 2 shots a game for good measure.

Rayan Rupert flashes potential

With the massive amount of injuries he's dealing with, head coach Chauncey Billups was forced to play Rupert, who's spent most of his rookie season in the G League, as essentially his sixth man.

The 19-year-old played more than 23 minutes against the Wolves and scored a career-high 13 points. He was 3-of-3 from three and added six rebounds.

The 6-foot-6 wing with a 7-foot-3 wingspan proved, at least for one night, that the skills he's shown with the Rip City Remix can translate to the NBA level. Rupert was drafted for his defensive upside but is becoming a legitimate 3-point threat. If he continues to develop on this trajectory, he's going to be starting in Portland.

Should the Blazers already make a decision on Dalano Banton's future?

Speaking of starters in Portland, is it already time to make sure Banton sticks around next season? Even after only nine games with the Trail Blazers, picking up the 24-year-old's $2.2 million team option for 2024-25 seems like a no-brainer.

In his first start as a Blazer and the fifth of his career, Banton scored 18 points and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes against Minnesota. He only turned the ball over once.

In his nine games with Portland, the 6-foot-9 guard is averaging 11.1 points and only 1.3 turnovers in 18.7 minutes. He's averaging 15.7 points in 22.1 minutes over the last three, still with only 1.7 turnovers.

Who did Banton replace in the starting lineup last night? Did he start for Henderson at point guard? Was he playing the two next to Simons? Was he playing in place of Grant at the three or four? The fact that those are all questions, along with the numbers he's putting up, make it an easy decision to bring the former second-round pick back next year to continue his development.