NBA Mock Drafts Can’t Agree On Portland Trail Blazers After 2024 Lottery Reveal

If you’ve paid attention to NBA Draft discourse throughout 2023-24 and into the postseason, you know that the incoming rookie class is, at best, underwhelming. 

That can create some fun energy around potential gems in the lottery. But it also confuses anyone who is projecting the top immediate and future talents. 

That, of course, is the case for the 2024 Draft, and that’s why, following Sunday’s Lottery reveal, four national outlets have four entirely different predictions for the Portland Trail Blazers’ No. 7 pick and three different selections at No. 14. 

No. 7 Overall

Bleacher Report: Donovan Clingan, UConn, C, 7’2”

Yahoo! Sports: Ron Holland, G League Ignite, G/F, 6’8”

ESPN+: Nikola Topić, Mega MIS (Serbia), PG, 6’6”

The Ringer: Zaccharie Risacher, JL Bourg-en-Bresse, SG/SF, 6’8”

Entering this draft, Portland’s glass might be more half-full than you think. Landing No. 7 means you’re only committed to roughly half the value of a rookie-scale contract you would’ve otherwise been at No. 1. 

We know the price of a No. 1 pick only matters when the prospect doesn’t pan out, but that’s the theme of this whole draft—that it’s a complete crapshoot, and finding “value” might be a bigger talking point than finding a “star” when reviewing this class years down the road.

Financials aside, every player Mock’d to Portland has been a top-three selection in recent Mock Drafts. At least one has the potential to go top overall, and even Ron Holland, who has disappeared from No. 1 in maybe all Mocks, still sits No. 1 on B/R’s Top 50 Prospect Rankings Big Board.

The talent is there even if the ceilings don’t present as high as we’ve come to expect from top picks.

If the Blazers jump on Holland, they will land someone who needs to improve his shooting but has immediate potential as a creator and scorer. A high turnover rate came with his nearly 20-points-per-game average with G League Ignite, but so did excellent athleticism and off-dribble buckets that will translate to the pros.

Risacher, on the other hand, is also a 6’8” guard/forward, but he’s the one showing up most regularly as a possible No. 1 behind fellow Frenchman Alex Sarr. If Risacher falls this far, Portland, in need of a wing with size, might be too tempted to watch him slip further.

Another name, though, that might be too tempting to pass on, if available, is Donovan Clingan. At 7’2”, his rim protection would be of obvious value, but his mobility and finishing could make him a solid dump-off option whenever the Blazers’ young guards get into trouble around the rim. However, expecting him to fall this far isn’t advised, as his stock has risen as high as No. 1 overall following his National Championship run.

The last name here is Nikola Topić. I know you’re already thinking to yourself, another guard?! In this case, yes. Another guard, but one with 6’6” size could end up being an elite creator who both challenges the rim and is happy deferring buckets to his fellow backcourt mates. 

Yes, his scoring overall presents a stepper learning curve, but that wouldn’t be an issue in a backcourt comprising Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson, and Shaedon Sharpe—not to mention Malcolm Brogdon, who would become that much more expendable (aside from his veteran qualities). 

No. 14 Overall

Bleacher Report: Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor, G/F, 6’5”

Yahoo! Sports: Yves Missi, Baylor, C, 7’0”

ESPN+: Tidjane Salaun, Cholet (France), PF, 6’9”

The Ringer: Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor, G/F, 6’5”

It was always likely that the Blazers would own this pick, but it took Golden State’s lottery fate playing out in Portland’s favor first, which happened on Sunday when the Warriors failed to leap into the top four. 

Again, there’s almost no consensus on this selection. We have three different players across four picks, with Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter the only common prospect. 

Joining Portland, Walter would be the complement to whatever non-shooter the team took at No. 7. He’s got one of the best long balls in the draft. Although his completion rate dipped during the second half of the season, this is a skill that could look even better at the NBA level with how differently the game is spaced and played compared to the NCAA.

Of course, the Blazers need size, and if they miss out on Clingan at No. 7, Walter’s teammate at Baylor, Yves Missi, could fill that spot at 7’0” with rim-protecting abilities and soft hands as a roll or dump-off man. 

Rounding out the bunch is France’s Tidjane Salaun, who is looking like potentially the most raw prospect among most lottery projections. But he would also add size and depth without threatening to take shots away from the current core, and with at least another year before Portland expects to compete, you can take a flier on a non-scorer who might be a fit.

Who Ya Got? 

We must remember that the Blazers also own the rights to Nos. 34 and 40 in this draft, but for today, the focus is on Round 1. 

Who would you target if you were general manager Joe Cronin with two picks in this year’s lottery? 

*Hit the Oregon Sports News comments to share your best-case scenario for the Blazers this draft season.

About Bryant Knox 110 Articles
Bryant was drafted to Oregon Sports News in 2011 as a fresh-faced, fervorous fan ready to take NBA media by storm. So many years later, the face may be a tad less fresh, but the fervor hasn’t faded. In addition to being an OSN Writer, Bryant holds the role of Bleacher Report’s NBA Editor. By representing both sites, Bryant has accomplished something not even LeBron James could do in his historic career: He figured out how to play for the two best teams in the game at the exact same time. You go, Bryant 💪. And go, Blazers 🌹