Rick’s Picks: The weekly Portland Trail Blazers all-stars

Top Blazers Last 7 Days

The Portland TrailBlazers endured yet another tough week, losing three of four games, capped off with a disheartening loss at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. The silver lining in all of this, if there is one, is that these losses will slightly improve Portland’s lottery chances in the draft.

You never want to tank just to improve your draft chances; you’d think professional teams would have more pride than that. But in a season as lost as this one, LaMarcus Aldridge was just shelved for the year after getting surgery on a bum hip, you almost root for your team to lose so you can rebuild for next year.

However, in light of the frustrating performance as a team, there were a few performances worthy enough for a spot in the weekly Trail Blazer’s all stars column.

First Star: JJ Hickson (4/11: W vs. Golden State)

The new guy J.J. Hickson cracks the top of the list this week for his performance against the Golden State Warriors this past Wednesday night.

Hickson, taking the place of the ailing LaMarcus Aldridge, put up 23 points, on 10-17 from the floor, 13 boards, 3 assists and a block in 40 minutes of action against the Warriors.

As the offseason nears for Portland, it’s great to see this kind of production out of a guy who the Blazers should seriously consider re-signing this offseason.

He’s excelled in the absence of Aldridge, and once Aldridge is healthy, should provide solid minutes opposite LA in Portland’s frontcourt.

Second Star: Wesley Matthews (4/15: L @ Sacramento)

While this performance came in a loss, Wesley Matthews was absolutely lights out against Sacramento on Sunday.

Making a career high eight three pointers, Wes notched 31 points, on 10-16 from the floor and 8-10 from beyond the arc, to go along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block in 38 minutes of play.

J.J. Hickson

The Blazers should seriously consider re-signing J.J. this offseason.

Benefiting the most from the Gerald Wallace trade, Wes Matthews has been playing a lot more like the player he was last season. His performance against the Kings this past week was just more evidence to support that fact.

Matthews consistency will need to remain if he hopes to crack the starting lineup once again next year.

Third Star: Raymond Felton (4/11: W vs. Golden State)

Ray Felton, who admittedly has been playing a bit better of late, was a bit of a stretch at the third star this week. He had a somewhat solid game, there just wasn’t much else to choose from in the sample size.

That said, Felton put up 16 points, on 6-11 from the floor, including 2-4 from three point range, 10 assists, a rebound and a steal in 33 minutes of action to help propel Portland to victory against Golden State.

One of the bigger questions this offseason for Portland is what they will be doing with Raymond Felton. Many want Portland to deal Felton and find a point guard in the draft, but if Felton can get in to the game shape he was when he found success as a Knick, Portland may consider bringing Ray back for another year.

No matter how many times I’ve cursed Felton’s name this season; he could be an asset either on the floor, or via trade, for a team that’s destined for another rough year in 2012-13.

Dunk of the Week: Hasheem Thabeet vs. Sacramento Kings

I know what you’re thinking, how could Hasheem Thabeet ever get mentioned in a best-of column? Don’t worry, I’m with you. I just couldn’t leave out his alley-oop dunk against the Sacramento Kings.

Nicolas Batum sets him up nicely for the one handed finish.


— Video courtesy of TheBlazersVideos YouTube channel


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