NBA draft: Top prospects for Portland Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Blazers could end the NBA Draft on Thursday with as many as three rookies on their roster.

Or they could end up with none.

With reports that the Blazers are hoping to shed salary, there could be more than one player exiting the team by the end of the night.

If Portland does hold onto one or more of its picks, it will look to fill needs. The Blazers need defense, depth in the post and shooting. Portland should be able to find players who fill those needs in this draft.

NBA DRAFT
Thursday
TV: 
4 p.m., ESPN

MORE NBA DRAFT COVERAGE

Here's a look at some of the best prospects who may be available to the Blazers. Chances are, if Portland makes a draft selection (or two or three) on Thursday, one or more of the following players could be their choice:

Best defenders

VIDEO: Oregon Ducks draft prospect Jordan Bell is a defensive stopper

WinnersView.com brings stories and statistics together to make you smarter about the sports and games you love.

1. OG Anunoby, Indiana

Anunoby is widely regarded as the best defensive player in the draft. He's also a risk, having missed the final two months of the regular college basketball season after tearing his ACL. He could miss the first half of his rookie season. Before the injury, he was a defensive star in Indiana, averaging 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. He is best suited to play small forward, though at 6-foot-8 and 232 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan and a 9-0 standing reach, he could slide over to the power forward spot, too. Scouts say he is a lockdown defender who can guard four positions.

2. Donovan Mitchell, Louisville

A combo guard with the potential to be a defensive force. He's a very aggressive defender and an elite athlete. A good athlete at 6-3 with a crazy 6-10 wingspan, Mitchell has the size to defend point guards, shooting guards and most small forwards. Mitchell averaged 2.1 steals per game his sophomore season at Louisville. He has been projected to be selected before the Blazers' first pick at No. 15. He's not a scrub on offense, either. He averaged about 16 points per game his sophomore season and showed a lot of improvement as a 3-point shooter. After making only 25 perent of his 3-point attempts on about two shots per game as a freshman, he improved those stats to 35 percent on almost seven attempts per game as a sophomore.

3. Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia

Despite the fact that Ferguson didn't shoot well during his one season playing in a challenging Australian pro-league after high school, scouts say he's a great outside shooter. If that holds up, he projects as a quality 3-and-D player in the NBA, because he's also a good defender. He has good athleticism and length (6-9 wingspan, 8-7 reach). He is skinny (184 pounds) and needs to add strength, but the upside is intriguing.

4. Frank Ntilikina, G, France

Ntilikina projects as a point guard in the NBA but with a 6-6 frame and 7-0 wingspan, he has the size to switch and guard multiple positions. He's a good athlete, even if he doesn't possess explosive quickness or burst. Ntilikina has been projected in many mock drafts to be selected two or three spots before the Blazers draft at 15, but he could slip on draft day.

5. Jordan Bell, Oregon

Bell was a great defensive player in college, averaging 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. He was the only player in college basketball to post at least a 22-percent defensive rebound rate, eight-percent block rate and 2.5-percent steal rate.

Best big men

 

1. Zach Collins, Gonzaga

Collins came off the bench as a freshman at Gonzaga, but he was highly effective when he was on the court. In only 17 minutes per game, Collins averaged 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks per game. He has the ability to score inside and out and has good height and athleticism. Collins' biggest weakness is strength. He'll need to bulk up to play center in the NBA. Collins may be drafted before the the Blazers pick first at 15.

2. John Collins, Wake Forest

Collins was one of the best post players in college basketball as a sophomore, averaging about 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in only 27 minutes per game. He also shot 62.2 percent from the field and 74.5 percent from the free-throw line. He's a throwback post player with a multitude of moves in the paint, and is a strong rebounder and shot-blocker. To be a starter in the NBA, he'll need to develop an effective 3-point shot.

3. Harry Giles, Duke

Giles was the best high school player in the country entering his senior season. His potential is as high as anyone in the draft. But, in the past two years, he has torn an ACL in both knees and had a third knee surgery during his freshman season at Duke, making him the most high-risk player in the draft. One hot take by ESPN's Chad Ford should make the Blazers think twice before drafting Giles: "He feels like he's one major injury away from being Greg Oden." Ouch.

4. Jarrett Allen, Texas

A 6-10, 233-pound center with a 7-5 wingspan, Allen's size is one of his greatest assets. He's an athletic, mobile big man who averaged 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as a freshman at Texas. He's a strong defender, but still raw offensively. He also needs to add some bulk.

5. Justin Patton, Creighton

The upside for Patton is considerable. He was so raw coming into college, he redshirted his first year at Creighton. As a redshirt freshman during the 2016-17 season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He was ultra-efficient, making almost 68 percent of his shots. Patton has good size at center, standing 6-11 with a 7-3 wingspan and 9-4 standing reach. He's still developing and would be a project for any team that drafts him.

Best shooters

VIDEO: UCLA sharp-shooting big man TJ Leaf would be a great fit in Portland

WinnersView.com brings stories and statistics together to make you smarter about the sports and games you love.

1. Luke Kennard, Duke

More than just a shooter, Kennard is a good playmaker who has fared better in athletic testing than expected. The 6-6 shooting guard shot about 44 percent on 5.4 3-point attempts per game last season for Duke. He was Duke's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game. He played hard at Duke, but lacking elite athleticism, he struggled to defend effectively.

2. TJ Leaf, UCLA

Leaf, a 6-10 power forward, shot about 47 percent on 3-pointers for UCLA as a freshman. He also made about 62 percent of his field goals. He thrived with the Bruins, averaging 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds. He's not very long (6-11 wingspan), lacks strength and is not a good defender.

3. Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia

Despite the fact that Ferguson didn't shoot well during his one season playing in a challenging Australian pro-league after high school, scouts say he's a great outside shooter. If that holds up, he projects as a quality 3-and-D player in the NBA, because he's also a good defender. He has good athleticism and length (6-9 wingspan, 8-7 reach). He is skinny (184 pounds) and needs to add strength, but the upside is intriguing.

4. Tyler Lydon, Syracuse

Another 6-10 sweet-shooting big man, Lydon shot about 40 percent on 3-pointers during his two seasons at Syracuse. Lydon is a good athlete and was a good rebounder and shot-blocker in college, but at 215 pounds, there are questions about his position. Is he too small to defend power forwards? Does he have the quickness to guard on the perimeter?

5. Alec Peters, SF, Valparaiso

Peters' 3-point accuracy dipped his senior season at Valpo to 36 percent. But he shot 47 percent as a sophomore and 44 percent as a junior on more than five attempts per game. Coming off a very strong senior season in which he averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds per game, he's arguably the best senior in the draft. He is projected as an early second-round pick, but it wouldn't be a stretch if he's drafted late in the first round.

Jared Cowley is a digital producer at KGW. Follow him on Twitter here.

© 2017 KGW-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment