The NBA Draft Lottery was held this past Tuesday and featured some exciting results. The most notable ping pong ball that fell was for Detroit, who had the highest chance of winning the number one pick. However, the lottery didn’t care about that and gave them the 5th overall pick. The San Antonio Spurs ended with the first pick, while Charlotte nabbed the second pick. Our Portland Trail Blazers secured the third pick in the NBA draft this year, which is a pleasant surprise. While the Blazers won’t get highly touted prospect Victor Wembanyama, they still are in line for some impact players. Let’s look at the three most likely picks for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Scoot Henderson – PG – G League Ignite
Let’s discuss a remarkable point guard causing quite a stir in the basketball world, Scoot Henderson. Scoot can become one of the most significant point guards we’ve seen in recent years. However, it’s important to note that he’s still a work in progress, as some areas require refinement. Nonetheless, his physical attributes are extraordinary, and he’s already making a significant impact against seasoned players despite his young age. In addition, with his size, speed, and lengthy arms, he poses a significant challenge to his opponents.
Let’s delve into his exceptional finishing skills, which set him apart. When he aggressively attacks the rim, he becomes virtually unstoppable. His creativity around the basket is awe-inspiring, showcasing moves that leave spectators in awe. Whether scoring inside or pulling up for mid-range shots, he has the knack for putting points on the board. His explosiveness on drives can be compared to the likes of Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook.
Nevertheless, he needs to pay attention to his decision-making. As he progresses in the coming years, honing his ability to orchestrate the offense and make intelligent choices will be crucial. However, he needs to maintain his aggressiveness during this process. His scoring instincts are exceptional and should never be suppressed. The area that requires work is his outside shooting. He struggled during his initial G League season, shooting a mere 17% from beyond the arc. Yet, I firmly believe that we will witness a wholly transformed player if he can enhance his shooting technique. The possibilities for this young talent are boundless.
Brandon Miller – F – Alabama
Prepare to be amazed by Miller, an intriguing prospect standing at an impressive 6’9″ with extraordinary length and athleticism. Throughout his freshman year, he has dazzled on the court, averaging an outstanding 18.8 points per game while shooting a respectable 45% from the field. Before I move on, I fully expect Charlotte to take Miller. If they don’t, the Blazers will not hesitate to select Miller.
What truly sets Miller apart is his ability to shoot over defenders due to his size. In addition, he shows versatility by draining shots from the mid-range, operating effectively in the post, and even stretching his range beyond the three-point line. This young talent is a true marksman, boasting an astonishing 44% shooting from beyond the arc on seven attempts per game. Trust me, his shooting range extends well beyond the NBA three-point line, whether he’s spotting up, coming off screens, or pulling up off the dribble. Furthermore, his size allows him to convert contested shots with ease.
Miller isn’t solely a scoring threat; he also possesses exceptional ball-handling skills. He can create offense even in tight spaces, showcasing his finesse with combo dribbles in the mid-range that lead to smooth jump shots.
Miller’s versatility extends to his playing position as well. He seamlessly transitions between the small forward and small-ball power forward roles, adapting to any lineup. Additionally, his rebounding skills are noteworthy, averaging an impressive 8.2 rebounds per game despite his slender frame. He competes physically and surprises opponents with his defensive presence.
Speaking of defense, Miller’s length and situational awareness make him a disruptive force in passing lanes, often anticipating plays and causing havoc. He even demonstrates shot-blocking abilities, offering an extra layer of resistance as a help-side defender.
However, like any prospect, Miller has areas that require improvement. While he possesses solid athleticism, he lacks the explosive burst of some other players, which can make creating separation off the dribble challenging at times. In half-court situations, he doesn’t attack the rim as frequently as expected, and adding more muscle to his frame would enhance his ability to finish through contact. Another aspect to consider is Miller’s age. As a rookie, he will be 21 years old, slightly older than the typical one-and-done prospects. While this is worth keeping in mind, it shouldn’t overshadow his immense potential and impact on the court.
Amen Thompson – G/F – Overtime Elite
Amen emerges as an exceptional prospect, showcasing elite athleticism and charting an unconventional path to the NBA by competing in the Overtime Elite League instead of college. This unique route adds an intriguing dimension to his evaluation, but there’s no denying his talent, warranting consideration for a lottery selection.
In terms of physical attributes, Amen possesses the ideal size for a point guard, complemented by a lightning-quick first step and explosive athleticism. Furthermore, he exhibits an exceptional basketball IQ and demonstrates remarkable passing skills, albeit occasionally falling into the trap of overdoing it. Nonetheless, he consistently displays an unselfish approach, finding joy in setting up his teammates for success.
While his ball-handling and playmaking abilities shine, Amen’s effortless aerial prowess truly captivates observers. With his long arms and impressive leaping ability, he seems to play on a lower rim at times. His tight handles and quick first step enable him to dismantle defenders off the dribble and quickly penetrate the lane.
However, Amen has significant room for improvement in his jump shooting. The development of this skill will ultimately determine whether he reaches the elite ranks of NBA players or settles as a solid contributor. Additionally, his three-point shooting is a work in progress, and he encounters difficulties at the free-throw line.
His exceptional athleticism, court vision, and scoring potential are the primary factors that will capture the attention of NBA scouts and decision-makers. As he embarks on his professional journey, the sky’s the limit for Amen.
The Blazers have great prospects to pick from in this year’s draft if they choose to. Remember, Damian Lillard said it’s time to go all in for a championship. If Brandon Miller drops to them, I believe the Blazers will go for it. If it’s either Scoot or Thompson, look for the Blazers to field trade offers from most teams to get these athletic guards.