An Ode to the Blazers Bench

We're a few weeks into the season, and thanks to their bench, the Portland Trail Blazers are looking good.

We’re a few weeks into the season, and the Portland Trail Blazers look good. Dame is still making threes from the logo, he went off with 41 points against the Magic most recently, and he’s still a very commanding presence on the court. Portland’s fearless leader is continuing to play all-star basketball, but Dame's stats aren't even the most intriguing storyline right now.

There are bigger stories rearing their big NBA player sized heads, namely, that the role players have been much more prominent than we have seen in past years.

The team’s ball movement has been top-notch, the chemistry is undeniable, and it appears everyone is playing with a purpose. Blazers fans didn’t know how things would shake up sans Ed Davis (did you really think I could go an entire article without talking about Ed Davis? Or without saying, sans?), but it seems that other players are picking up the slack (and adding three-point efficiency to the stat lines).

So, let’s dive a little deeper into the Bench Boiz, shall we?

Nik Stauskas

Nik “Yumm Sauce” Stauskus was touted as an elite marksman coming out of college, but has had a rough go since entering the NBA. However, if his performance so far this season is any indicator of his role on the team moving forward, elite marksman is a perfect descriptor. Being touted as the Lithuanian Michael Jordan by some way-too-excited Blazers fans, Stauskus had an amazing opener against LJB and co., and didn’t fail to impress in the following games, either.

Regardless of what Nik brings to the table throughout the season, Blazers fans will always have the magic of that opening night in which Stauskus scored 24 points in 27 minutes. A few games later, and he’s still impressing fans. Some say (I say) Dame should have passed to a wide-open Sauce instead of driving and missing a layup to end regulation against the Wizards.

Can you imagine the crowd at the Moda Center after a Nik Stauskus hits a three to win? The entire city of Portland would have been lost (nay, drowning) in the sauce, but I digress. If Stauskas can remain open and accurate, the Blazers can certainly use those extra points to contend in the West.

Zach Collins

Before the season, Zach Collins promised to be more physical this year, and he’s followed through. Podcast host, Christian James McCollum attributed Collins improvements to Ed Davis’ mentorship (just wanted to say Ed Davis again). Collins has always been quick and accurate from three, but so far his defense has been the difference maker for the Blazers. Zach’s averaging almost two blocks per game, and 3.7 rebounds in a little over 20 minutes per game. Collins went seven for seven and scored a career-high 17 points against the Magic, so I’d wager he is on the right track.

Meyers Leonard

Meyers “Seven-Year-Project” Leonard’s numbers are not great, but Blazers twitter seems to have more faith in Meyers than ever. Many fans seem to (ironically, or otherwise) claim this year will be Meyers’ best year yet.

He showed promising numbers against the Lakers, with (a career high) four assists, four boards, and a steal. In the following games, his numbers weren’t as strong, but we cannot deny what Leonard does bring to the team: he is the ultimate bench hype man, and he has those really cool orange terminator sunglasses.

Meyers: please remember that this writer said nice things, and please for the love of our Point Gawd, don't block me on twitter.

Seth Curry

Last week Curry had an amazing, record-breaking night. He scored 51 points against the Wizards and-- wait no, no that’s not right. Oh, Seth Curry, not Steph Curry. Ok, yeah. Seth Curry has done about what you’d expect, but I do see him progressing with this team as time goes on. He's been a contributor for sure, shooting 50% from three, so that's a fun thing! Also, it’s tough to stand out when you’re one of 67 undersized guards on a team.

Evan Turner

Evan Turner has been surprising to many. A polarizing figure for Blazers fans, Turner typically could be found on the wing where he is forced to attempt a three (which is not where Blazers fans want him), but Portland has made some very productive adjustments on the floor, and ET may never have to shoot a three again. Huzzah! Anyway, this new Evan Turner situation is shaping up nicely, as he went four for five and had seven assists against the Magic, so let’s hope this ish sticks!

Even if the wheels fall off, and the Blazers don’t go 79-3 like their fans seem to think, they’ll always have the best bench reactions in the league, and that’s more than any of us expected.

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