There are very few things in this world that I love more than the NBA and NFL Drafts. Last month, Oregon Sports News brought you comprehensive coverage on the NFL Draft, and now it’s time to turn our attention to the upcoming NBA Draft.
Relevance of the Draft to Portland Fans:
This is one of the most interesting and important drafts in recent history for the Blazers. This is a team that is strapped for cap space, full of borderline rotational players (outside of the star-studded nucleus), and the youngest team in the playoffs.
This draft will likely be a turning point for this franchise.
Thankfully, Neil Olshey and the front office have set themselves up really well to build for the future while solidifying the now with 3 first-round draft picks. The team owns the #15, #20, and #26 picks in the first round.
Owning those picks keeps the options open for the team.
Will they package the picks and move up into the top-10? Top-5?
Will they trade the picks to offload the bloated contracts of Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, or Evan Turner?
Will they trade the picks for veterans to bolster the rotation?
As you can see, there are plenty of options. And I plan to explore each of them in the coming weeks.
Top Needs for the Blazers:
Power Forward, defensive wing, rotational shooting, backup center.
Prospect Scouting Reports:
Last year’s draft was incredibly anti-climactic for Portland as they didn’t own a draft and had to trade into the second round to bring in Jake Layman. The biggest bummer of that all was for us sports media folks that had no news to report, prospects to scout, or mock drafts to fill out.
As detailed above, this year is going to be different.
Back in 2015, I took a deep dive into the NBA Draft and who the Blazers should target and bring in. I correctly mocked that they would draft Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the first round. What I did not predict is that he would be traded to the Nets along with Steve Blake in exchange for Mason Plumlee.
That was a very good trade in hind sight.
Plumlee was a very fun center that starter more than 100 games for the team in a year and a half.
That trade paid off even more so when Olshey sent Plumlee to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and the #20 pick in this year’s draft.
Nurkic looks to be the center of the future for the Blazers, and the pick is just another valuable asset that the team has to use in the next 5 or so weeks.
Over the next few weeks, I will look at several prospects that the Blazers are bringing in for workouts, prospects that I like a lot, and prospects that are being rumored to be targets of the Blazers.
Buckle up for the ride, there are few things that are more unknown than the NBA Draft and who each team is targeting (aside from the Lakers-Lonzo Ball marriage).