Portland Trail Blazers Draft Report

Breaking down the draft picks and roster outlook for the Portland Trail Blazers heading into the NBA draft

2017-18 W/L: 49-33 2018-19 W/L: 53-29

Finished 3rd in the western conference (Lost 4-0 to Golden State in the western conference finals)

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Team Needs: SG, SF, PF

Free Agents: Al Farouq-Aminu, Rodney Hood, Seth Curry, Jake Layman, Enes Kanter

Under Contract: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Evan Turner, Jusuf Nurkic, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons, Skal Labissiere

1st Pick: 1st Round-25th Overall

Players who could be available and fit with this pick:

PG: Carsen Edwards, Ty Jerome

SG/SF: KZ Okpala, Cameron Johnson, Louis King, Matisse Thybulle, Dylan Windler

PF/C: Bruno Fernando, Goga Bitadze, Mfiondu Kabengele, Daniel Gafford, Naz Reid, Nicolas Claxton

The Trail Blazers broke through and made it to the western conference finals where they had a disappointing 4-0 loss to Golden State. CJ McCollum and Damien Lillard are stars giving the team a foundation with their starting backcourt set for the next two seasons before those contracts expire. Jusuf Nurkic has been a very solid big man since coming to Portland from Denver, and he gives them a double-double threat on a nightly basis. They have multiple role players under contract that can make an impact between Maurice Harkless, Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard. Zach Collins and Anfernee Simons are two young pieces that have showed promise and could step into a bigger role next season. They do lose many of the role players that helped lead them on their playoff run and they will have some decisions making regarding what to with Seth Curry, Enes Kanter, Jake Layman and more. Those free agency decisions will largely be the how the roster turnover will happen with Portland only having one draft pick, and there is enough talent on the roster that many players should be interested in joining the team for another run at a title.

Portland’s position in the draft is high enough that if they choose correctly they can select a player helping fill some of those voids rather than through free agency. A small forward or power forward that can stretch the floor and shoot a three point shot effectively is a type of player that would make a lot of sense for the team to take with their only pick. If they want to go that route there are plenty of options that could be available once the Trail Blazers are on the clock. KZ Okpala, Cameron Johnson, Louis King, and Dylan Windler would all provide the ability to score from the outside with good size that would fit in well with Lillard and McCollum. Matisse Thybulle could play alongside their starting backcourt and provide a high level of perimeter defense, as well as his ability to shoot the deep ball well. As for the big men, Bruno Fernando, Goga Bitadze, Mfiondu Kabengele, Nicolas Claxton, and Naz Reid all have a versatile skill set that should work well with the modern day NBA. If they want an athletic shot blocking big man while Claxton fits that description, Daniel Gafford is another option that would bring those skills to the table. If we were drafting for Portland we would take a scoring minded wing like Cameron Johnson or KZ Okpala depending on what shooting guards/small forwards are available. 

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