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Portland Trail Blazers draft preview: Breaking down potential Top 10 picks

The Blazers will have a Top 10 pick in the June 23 NBA draft. Here's a look at players Portland could draft.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers were awarded the seventh overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft during the draft lottery on May 17. This marks the first time the Blazers have had a lottery pick since 2017.

Portland, which had the sixth worst record in the NBA, entered the lottery drawing with a 37.2% chance of landing a Top 4 pick and a 9% chance of getting the No. 1 overall selection, but instead of moving up they dropped one spot to seventh. The draft will be held June 23 in Brooklyn.

Over the past decade, Portland has had an up-and-down track record picking in the lottery (the first 14 picks of the draft). Portland's front office hit on players like Damian Lillard (No. 6, 2012) and CJ McCollum (No. 10, 2013) but also missed on players like Meyers Leonard (No. 11, 2012) and Zach Collins (No. 10, 2017). The Blazers have a new general manager in place for this year's draft and it will be interesting to see what decisions Joe Cronin and the rest of the front office make with the Blazers’ selection.

RELATED: Blazers will pick 7th in June 23 NBA draft | NBA draft lottery results

In a February interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic, Cronin said he'll target players in the draft, trades and free agency who fit the preferred style of head coach Chauncey Billups, which Quick described as "smart, versatile, tough-minded players who compete on the defensive end." Cronin also said in the draft, he'll prioritize talent over position.

"The No. 1 thing is we have to get more talent," Cronin told The Athletic. "We can't take talent for granted. … If there is a two guard that is head and shoulders above the other positions, we are taking the two guard, then figure it out. We can't dismiss the talent part to be able to compete at the level we want to compete at."

RELATED: Blazers enter pivotal offseason | Portland Trail Blazers exit interviews

Below is a closer look at players projected to be drafted in the Top 10. While the Blazers, barring a trade up, are likely out of the running for any of the top selections, there are talented players who will be available when the Blazers pick seventh. Included with each player is their school, class, position, measurables (height, weight, wingspan, age at time of draft), 2021-22 stats, strengths, weaknesses, mock draft projections and player comparisons.

For the mock draft projections, we pull from those most recently published by draft experts at ESPN (Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, May 31), The Athletic (Sam Vecenie, May 17), The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor, June 13), Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo, June 6), Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman, May 31) and CBS Sports (Kyle Boone and Gary Parrish, June 10). For the player comparisons, we're sharing O'Connor's comps from his must-read draft guide.


Jabari Smith

Auburn, freshman | Power forward

Measurables: 6-foot-10 (7-1 wingspan), 210 pounds, 19 years old

2021-22 stats: 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.0 block, .429/.420/.799

Mock draft projections

No. 1 ESPN

No. 1 The Athletic

No. 1 The Ringer

No. 1 Sports Illustrated

No. 1 Bleacher Report

No. 2 CBS Sports

Average: 1.2

Player analysis: Smith is 6-foot-10, has elite shooting ability and can defend multiple positions, making him the kind of power forward every team is looking for in the modern NBA. He shot 42% from 3 as a freshman at Auburn on 5.5 attempts per game. On defense, he plays with maximum effort and has the length and athleticism to thrive on defense in the NBA, though he wasn't an elite rim protector this season. On offense, he can get his 3-point shot off in multiple ways and has a strong pull-up game, but he needs to improve his ability to get into the paint and attack the rim.

Player comparisons: "Two-way Rashard Lewis, taller Harrison Barnes, Michael Porter Jr." – O’Connor


Chet Holmgren

Gonzaga, freshman, power forward

Measurables: 7-0 (7-6 wingspan), 195 pounds, 20 years old

2021-22 stats: 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, .607/.390/.717

Mock draft projections

No. 2 ESPN

No. 2 The Athletic

No. 2 The Ringer

No. 3 Sports Illustrated

No. 2 Bleacher Report

No. 1 CBS Sports

Average: 2.0

Player analysis: The first thing everyone talks about with Holmgren is his frame. He's skinny. He needs to bulk up and he needs to add strength. But when it comes to areas to improve, that's about it. Holmgren is an elite rim protector and defensive player. And despite his thin frame, Holmgren isn't soft. Watch him play and his physicality and competitive mean streak stand out. His fundamentals on defense are strong; he uses length and verticality well, especially for a 20-year-old. On offense, even at 7-foot, he's adept at grabbing the rebound and initiating the fast break. He can create his own shot off the dribble and is a strong outside shooter with 3-point range (39% from 3 during his freshman season at Gonzaga).

Player comparisons: "Gen Z Pau Gasol, Rudy Gobert with perimeter skills" – O’Connor


Paolo Banchero

Duke, freshman | Power forward

Measurables: 6-10 (7-1 wingspan), 250 pounds, 19 years old

2021-22 stats: 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks, .478/.338/.729

Mock draft projections

No. 3 ESPN

No. 3 The Athletic

No. 3 The Ringer

No. 2 Sports Illustrated

No. 3 Bleacher Report

No. 3 CBS Sports

Average: 2.8

Player analysis: A skilled big man, the Pacific Northwest native and former star at O'Dea High School in Seattle, has a strong post-up game, using good footwork, strength and athleticism to score efficiently in the post. He finishes well in the paint, including through contact. Outside the post area, he has a strong handle and can create off the dribble, either to get into a pull-up – he has a solid midrange game – or to get into the paint and score at the rim. Banchero's outside shot is inconsistent and while it can improve, it's not currently a strength. The biggest concern for Banchero is his defense. Though he has the tools to be an effective defender, far too often his effort on defense has lagged behind his tools and talent.

Player comparisons: "Chris Webber, Julius Randle" – O’Connor


Jaden Ivey

Purdue, sophomore | Point guard

Measurables: 6-4 (6-9 wingspan), 200 pounds, 20 years old

2021-22 stats: 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, .460/.358/.744

Mock draft projections

No. 4 ESPN

No. 4 The Athletic

No. 5 The Ringer

No. 5 Sports Illustrated

No. 4 Bleacher Report

No. 4 CBS Sports

Average: 4.3

Player analysis: An electric guard with length and athleticism to spare, Ivey has a dominant first step and gets to the rim with ease, where he's shown the ability to score through contact. He also has a developing pick-and-roll game and has shown an ability to move well without the ball. He doesn't run the point for Purdue, so there is some question about his ability to be a lead ball handler in the NBA. His length and athleticism give him strong defensive tools, but he's shown a lack of effort and consistency on defense the past two seasons. He showed improvement as a 3-point shooter (35.8% on five attempts per game as a sophomore) after shooting 25.8% from 3 as a freshman.

Player comparisons: "Donovan Mitchell, jumbo Darius Garland, Victor Oladipo" – O’Connor


Keegan Murray

Iowa, sophomore | Power forward

Measurables: 6-8 (6-11 wingspan), 225 pounds, 21 years old

2021-22 stats: 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals, .554/.398/.747

Mock draft projections

No. 5 ESPN

No. 6 The Athletic

No. 4 The Ringer

No. 4 Sports Illustrated

No. 10 Bleacher Report

No. 5 CBS Sports

Average: 5.7

Player analysis: Murray's stats jump off the page, showcasing his versatility on offense and defense. As a defender, he can match up with forwards and centers, so he may be able to play some small-ball center in the NBA. He has a diverse group of skills on offense, with the ability to stretch the floor from 3, either coming off screens or in a pick-and-pop with a guard. He has a good midrange jumper, is solid in transition and has a lot of moves he can go to in the post. He does struggle in the paint against longer defenders and success from the 3-point line isn't a guarantee. Though he shot 39.8% as a sophomore, he only shot 29.6% from distance his freshman season. He's also one of the older players in his class and lacks the athleticism of some of his peers at power forward.

Player comparisons: "Pascal Siakam, Al Horford, TJ Warren" – O’Connor


Shaedon Sharpe

Kentucky, freshman | Shooting guard

Measurables: 6-5 (7-0 wingspan), 198 pounds, 19 years old

2021-22 stats: Did not play

Mock draft projections

No. 7 ESPN

No. 5 The Athletic

No. 6 The Ringer

No. 8 Sports Illustrated

No. 5 Bleacher Report

No. 6 CBS Sports

Average: 6.2

Player analysis: Sharpe didn't play a single minute at Kentucky this season, but scouts are familiar enough with his game and NBA teams are excited enough about his potential that he projects as a Top 10 pick. Sharpe is an above-average athlete with good size for his position. He's 6-6 with long arms (he has a 7-foot wingspan). NBA teams are excited about his pull-up shot-creation skills and his ability to score at all three levels. He has a good first step with straight-line drive ability and can put pressure on the rim as a driver and a cutter or get separation for a pull-up shot. His range extends out to the 3-point line. He's strong and maintains his balance well through contact. He's young, just 19, so his areas for improvement are mostly feel for the game and ball handling.

Player comparisons: "Paul George, tall Bradley Beal, Jalen Green" – O’Connor


Bennedict Mathurin

Arizona, sophomore | Small forward

Measurables: 6-6 (6-9 wingspan), 205 pounds, 20 years old

2021-22 stats: 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steal, .450/.369/.764

Mock draft projections

No. 8 ESPN

No. 8 The Athletic

No. 8 The Ringer

No. 10 Sports Illustrated

No. 7 Bleacher Report

No. 7 CBS Sports

Average: 8.0

Player analysis: Mathurin is a fearless offensive player who has range out to the 3-point line and isn't afraid to attack the basket on the break or in the halfcourt. He's a good 3-point shooter (38.3% in his two seasons at Arizona). He shows flashes on defense and has the length and frame to hold up at the next level, but he’s a work in progress on that end of the court. He fouls too much, sometimes lacks energy and struggles at times with on-ball screens and closeouts. He's a willing passer and makes some beautiful passes, but he also turns the ball over too much. Though he's willing to attack the basket, he needs to improve at finishing at the rim.

Player comparisons: "Jamal Crawford, Caris LeVert, prime Victor Oladipo" – O’Connor


Dyson Daniels

G League Ignite | Shooting guard

Measurables: 6-7 (6-11 wingspan), 195 pounds, 19 years old

2021-22 stats: 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals, .449/.255/.737

Mock draft projections

No. 6 ESPN

No. 10 The Athletic

No. 7 The Ringer

No. 7 Sports Illustrated

No. 8 Bleacher Report

No. 12 CBS Sports

Average: 8.3

Player analysis: Daniels is a skilled passer. With a good floater and pull-up jumper, he excels as the ball handler in the pick-and-roll, with the ability to draw defenders and then hit the roll man, including on lobs at the rim. He's a good cutter on offense and a strong offensive rebounder. Daniels profiles as a solid defender at the NBA level. He plays with non-stop energy, is rarely out of position and doesn't lose his player. Daniels needs to improve as an outside shooter. He shot just 25.5% from 3. He's not exceptionally athletic or explosive and needs to improve his handle.

Player comparisons: "Derrick White, Kyle Anderson, Evan Turner" – O’Connor


AJ Griffin

Duke, freshman | Small forward

Measurables: 6-6 (6-11 wingspan), 222 pounds, 18 years old

2021-22 stats: 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, .493/.447/.792

Mock draft projections

No. 11 ESPN

No. 9 The Athletic

No. 10 The Ringer

No. 12 Sports Illustrated

No. 6 Bleacher Report

No. 8 CBS Sports

Average: 9.3

Player analysis: The ideal projection of Griffin is as a 3-and-D wing with the potential to develop into a more complete player, not just a catch-and-shoot threat but a player who can get downhill, create his own shot off the dribble and even create for others. On defense, Griffin has size, length and strength. If he develops his defensive fundamentals more (he’s only 19), he could be a standout wing defender in the NBA. On offense, he's a knockdown shooter, making 44.7% of his 3-point attempts at decent volume (4.1 attempts per game). There is some concern about Griffin's medical history as he's dealt with knee and ankle injuries in high school and during his one season at Duke.

Player comparisons: "Jaylen Brown, TJ Warren, 3-point shooting Jimmy Butler" O’Connor


Johnny Davis

Wisconsin, sophomore | Shooting guard

Measurables: 6-6 (6-9 wingspan), 196 pounds, 20 years old

2021-22 stats: 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, .427/.306/.791

Mock draft projections

No. 10 ESPN

No. 14 The Athletic

No. 14 The Ringer

No. 6 Sports Illustrated

No. 9 Bleacher Report

No. 11 CBS Sports

Average: 10.7

Player analysis: Davis is a talented scorer who makes tough shots and can get open for his best shot, the midrange jumper. He's a good playmaker, who can create shots for himself or teammates, despite the lack of a quick first step or tight handle. Davis is an elite rebounder for a guard, averaging more than eight per game as a sophomore. He competes hard on defense, though he lacks the ideal frame and athleticism to be an elite defender. Though Davis can score in bunches, he's not the most efficient shooter. If he could stretch his range out to the 3-point line, that would help. He shot just 30.6% from 3 as a sophomore, not ideal for a shooting guard, though he did shoot 38.9% as a freshman (on just 1.2 attempts per game).

Player comparisons: "Devin Harris, Khris Middleton, Shaun Livingston" O’Connor


Jalen Duren

Memphis, freshman | Center

Measurables: 6-11 (7-5 wingspan), 250 pounds, 18 years old

2021-22 stats: 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, .597/.000/.625

Mock draft projections

No. 9 ESPN

No. 11 The Athletic

No. 11 The Ringer

No. 13 Sports Illustrated

No. 12 Bleacher Report

No. 9 CBS Sports

Average: 10.8

Player analysis: A high-level shot blocker, Duren can be a solid defensive presence in the NBA, perhaps from Day 1. He's agile with good feet on defense and he has the height, length and build to be a sturdy defensive presence in the paint. Though he's probably best in a drop-coverage defensive scheme, he has shown the ability to switch on the perimeter and recover on defense. If he improves his defensive awareness, he could develop into an elite defensive center. On offense, with good hands and his ability to finish at the rim, he should be a good option in a pick-and-roll offense. Outside the paint, he's more limited. He's not a good shooter outside the paint or from the free-throw line and his post-up game is limited.

Player comparisons: "DeAndre Jordan, Robert Williams" – O’Connor


Jeremy Sochan

Baylor, freshman | Power forward

Measurables: 6-9 (7-0 wingspan), 230 pounds, 19 years old

2021-22 stats: 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, .474/.296/.589

Mock draft projections

No. 16 ESPN

No. 7 The Athletic

No. 12 The Ringer

No. 9 Sports Illustrated

No. 13 Bleacher Report

No. 15 CBS Sports

Average: 12.0

Player analysis: Sochan's calling card is his defense. At 6-8 with a 7-foot wingspan and a solid NBA frame, Sochan can defend just about every position on the court. He's one of the best defenders in the class. Sochan is also a good rebounder, averaging 10.1 rebounds per 40 minutes. On offense, he's a good passer with a solid handle and the ability to finish at the rim. Sochan's biggest weakness is outside shooting. Get him outside the paint and he struggles. He shot just 29.6% from 3, didn't show a lot of touch from midrange and struggled at the free-throw line (58.9%). His scoring is pretty limited to the paint.

Player comparisons: "Ben Simmons, Draymond Green, Aaron Gordon" – O’Connor



Ochai Agbaji seems to be slipping to the outer reaches of the lottery in recent mock drafts. The 6-5 senior wing averaged 18.8 points and shot 40.7% from 3 last season for Kansas . ... Ousmane Dieng, a 6-10 forward out of France, played last season for the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL. ... Malaki Branham, a 6-5 wing who averaged 13.7 points per game and shot 41.6% from 3 last season for Ohio State. ... Mark Williams, a 7-2 center out of Duke who measured a 9-9 standing reach at the combine and averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season in just 23.6 minutes per game.


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