Ever since Portland Trailblazers pressed the reset button by trading CJ McCollum to New Orleans Pelicans, they seem to be interested in tanking. Anfernee Simons has received an opportunity to prove himself while the superstar Damian Lillard is out due to abdominal surgery. In the meantime, another unknown player has shined for the last few games: Trendon Watford.
Watford went undrafted in the 2021 NBA draft. He found an opportunity with a two-way contract with Portland Trailblazers in August 2021. After he earned a $5.8 million deal for four years, he started to play heavy minutes.
The outcome of playing him as a starter wasn't disappointing at all. In the last six games, he had 17.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.5 turnovers on average. This is mid-round tier player stats.
Of course, it's just a small sample size we shouldn't read into too much. Also, the season is nearly over.
However, these recent games could be a hint for next year's draft. People who remember his performance would probably draft him higher. We will evaluate him to anticipate where he should be drafted next year.
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball: Trendon Watford
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As you can assume from his low turnover rate, he doesn't hold the ball too long. 62.5% of his shots have been taken with dribbling for less than two seconds. Moreover, he has taken 55% of his shots with zero dribbles.
The majority of his offense comes from the transition offense. When they push the ball up the floor, he cuts in to get to the basket.
Damian Lillard is a heavy ball-handler who needs selfless players to create more spaces for him with consistent off-the-ball movement. I believe his efficient style would have a great synergy with Damian Lillard.
Transition Offense Specialist
The question is if he would keep up the performance even after Damian Lillard comes back. Let's break down his offense to see if his performance is sustainable.
Trendon Watford Shot Breakdown
|Shot Type Detail||FGM||FGA||FG%||3PM||3PA||3P%||eFG%||BLKA||FGM %AST||FGM %UAST|
|Floating Jump shot||12||33||36.4||0||0||0||36.4||2||91.7||8.3|
|Driving Floating Jump Shot||10||22||45.5||0||0||0||45.5||1||30||70|
|Running Layup Shot||16||20||80||0||0||0||80||3||81.3||18.8|
|Driving Layup Shot||9||18||50||0||0||0||50||3||44.4||55.6|
|Tip Layup Shot||8||12||66.7||0||0||0||66.7||0||0||100|
|Cutting Layup Shot||9||10||90||0||0||0||90||0||100||0|
|Turnaround Jump Shot||4||8||50||0||0||0||50||0||50||50|
|Putback Layup Shot||4||6||66.7||0||0||0||66.7||0||0||100|
|Reverse Layup Shot||3||4||75||0||0||0||75||1||100||0|
|Cutting Dunk Shot||3||3||100||0||0||0||100||0||100||0|
He has taken a lot of jumpers so far, but the field goal percentage is noticeably low. Except for the jumpers, you see he has scored various types of layups with high field goal percentages.
In the last seven games, Portland Trailblazers have the fifth-highest pace in the league. It was one of the biggest factors for his high-scoring games.
In this case, we can label him as a transition offense specialist. It means he wouldn't be able to perform at the same level as now in a half-court set since his offensive options are very limited when confronting an organized defense with a slow tempo.
If he can increase his field goal percentage behind the ark to above 0.35%, he would be a lot more attractive player. However, at this point, it's just hope. Furthermore, his dribbling is too high and looks insecure.
Right now, Portland is an underdog. There have been a lot of blowout games, and the opposing teams open up more space. Once Damian Lillard comes back, Portland would be a title contender. Watford has to confront more organized defense going forward.
However, Watford's ball-handling and inefficient jumper wouldn't be enough for him to sustain this performance level. As I stated above, he could be a selfless roller who could do dirty work for Damian Lillard or any bench-time ball-handler.
I don't expect him to step up as a scorer who can put up 18 points on average next season unless Portland Trail Blazers press the reset button to tank once again.
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