The Portland Trail Blazers snuck in a deal right before the NBA Trade Deadline that landed them guard Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder. While trading for a reserve seems inconsequential, that is hardly the case for the Blazers.
Though Portland has one of the most consistent and effective starting-fives in the league, they also have the worst bench in the NBA in terms of scoring production.
On the season, the Blazers bench as a whole has averaged just 17.6 points per game, which is 18.2 percent of the team’s total points. If that’s not bad enough, they’re leading scorers off the bench are Meyers Leonard and Luke Babbitt, who each average just 4.1 points per game.
Their bench has been almost insufferable on offense. Leonard is the only player on Portland’s bench that shoots over 40 percent at 53.9 percent, with Joel Freeland having the next highest field-goal percentage at an even 40 percent.
That’s pretty ugly, but it gets worse.
It’s not even totally about inefficiency for the Blazers’ bench; it also has something to do with their aggressiveness and confidence. Of Portland’s bench-players, the highest average field-goal attempts per game is just 4.1. They aren’t even really looking to score.
That’s where Maynor comes in. Maynor has never been unreal offensively, averaging just 4.2 points and 2.9 assists per game and 39.4 percent shooting for his career, but he definitely has the ability to score. After all, Maynor did average 22.4 points and 6.2 assists per game and shot the ball at 46.3 percent efficiency his senior year in college, despite obviously being the primary focus for his team.
He doesn’t have to come off the bench and score 20 points per game, either. But what the Blazers really need Maynor to do is to come in and be aggressive on the offensive end. That’s something that they haven’t had and have needed all season. If they get Maynor to perform in that manner, the Blazers might find themselves in position to make the playoffs once again.