NBA Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Need Higher Numbers From Meyers Leonard

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Meyers Leonard keeps getting better as an NBA player. The Portland Trail Blazers couldn’t be happier.

Portland can’t afford too many more losses in their drive to make the NBA playoffs. Leonard as a rookie is working more into the Trail Blazer lineup and is giving his team valuable minutes. But he’s also looking to get his numbers up.

In 17 minutes of action against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Leonard was 3-of-6 from the floor and scored six points.

Portland would like to see Leonard play similar to a three-game stretch from Feb. 24-March 2, when he put in strong games of 13, 12 and 15 points. In those games, he had shooting percentages of 4-of-7, 6-of-7 and 6-of-8. The Portland coaches were smiling all three games while watching Leonard.

The Trail Blazers would like to see more of that in the final weeks of the regular season as they fight for their playoff lives. If Leonard can prove to be dangerous for Portland opponents inside, it will allow his teammates to get open on other parts of the floor.

Damian Lillard, also a first-round draft pick in 2012 for the Trail Blazers, has gained most of the rookie attention for Portland, and rightfully so considering his excellent performances that have put him in the lead for the Rookie of the Year talk. But Leonard is just as valuable for the Blazers right now. They need their 7-1 center to mature in a hurry and help his team enjoy the rest of this NBA season. If that happens, Portland will be in the playoffs.