On the night Jake Layman set his career high with 25 points, which continued a solid if not spectacular three-week run of play, he left the arena Tuesday night not knowing if he would be in the Trail Blazers’ rotation come Thursday.
“I think I have done everything I could at this point to earn coach’s trust,” Layman said.
Still, aside from wondering whether Neil Olshey will pull off a big trade before Thursday’s deadline, Layman is at the center of what has become the most pressing question around the Trail Blazers these days: What will coach Terry Stotts do at small forward?
Maurice Harkless has been the team’s starter for much of the past three seasons, and is a favorite of Stotts because of his defense. But he has been limited and largely ineffective this season because of lingering left knee soreness.
Then on Sunday, the Blazers acquired Rodney Hood in a trade with Cleveland, and Stotts—a bit uncharacteristically—said Hood will play, and play immediately.
And there’s also Evan Turner, who engineers the second unit as a point forward, and is invaluable with how many positions he can guard.
So where does that leave Layman, a guy who has averaged 14.2 points the past 10 games?