The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA of late and they can pinpoint much of their recent success to performance of Rudy Fernandez.

Without star guard Brandon Roy – he has missed 32 of the team’s 55 games this season – and former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden in the lineup the team’s depth has been tested. Those betting the NBA spread know that the Blazers bench has performed about as good as anyone’s this season, which is why they find themselves in sixth place in the Western Conference.

During the team’s recent run of five straight wins, Fernandez has been excellent. He has scored 17 or more points four times during the team’s five-game winning streak and finished with 18 points in Monday’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He made six of his 10 shots including four-of-seven from three-point land. He has averaged 11.4 points per game in that span, which is up from his 9.1 average on the season.

Roy has been practicing with the team and is nearing his return, which puts the Blazers in an awkward position at guard. They have Roy, who may or may not be able to play starters minutes any longer, Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez. Both Matthews and Fernandez can slide over to small forward but Nicolas Batum will play the lion’s share of those minutes.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Fernandez’ minutes in the coming weeks. Clearly, the team needs him as he plays a vital role off the bench but his playing time could go down with the return of Roy.