NBA.com recently released their ‘Consensus Mock Draft‘, a compilation of 12 lottery mock drafts released by draft experts around the web. The consensus was calculated out of the selections in each of the 12 mock drafts, and compiled into one.
In the consensus mock draft, the Portland Trail Blazers were set to draft UCLA wing Shabazz Muhammad with their 10th overall pick. Interestingly, however, there seemed to be no true consensus for who the Blazers would draft. Most teams had a player that were commonly mocked to them more than any other player, but the Blazers didn’t have that.
No player was projected to go to Portland in more than two of the twelve mock drafts. The Blazers were mocked to a total of nine players. Three players (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. McCollum and Cody Zeller) were mocked to the Blazers twice, while the other mock drafts saw Portland take one of Alex Len, Rudy Gobert, Dario Saric, Steven Adams, Gorgui Dieng and the aforementioned Muhammad.
The Blazers have many options with their 1st round pick, including some not covered by the mock drafts used for the consensus. However, let’s take a look at what the experts think:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ESPN.com, NBADraft.net): KCP is an off-ball scorer type with a nice mix of range and athleticism. The Blazers bench could use his scoring on their bench, although they would then have a surplus of wings that can’t create for themselves consistently.
C.J. McCollum (NBA Draft Insider, Bleacher Report): A combo guard that can score in practically any way with the ball in his hands, McCollum is instant offense. He would be perfect for the Blazers bench, if they don’t mind the redundancy with Damian Lillard.
Cody Zeller (SI.com, Rotoworld): Zeller has nice athleticism and a very polished offensive game. However, the Blazers drafted Meyers Leonard with the 11th pick last year, and LaMarcus Aldridge is remarkably similar to Zeller as a face-up big man.
Alex Len (NBA.com): Another center, the 7’1″ Len has a nice combination of athleticism, touch and shot-blocking ability to go with his height. The stress fracture in his ankle might be off-putting for a team that had to deal with Oden, but Len has a very high ceiling.
Rudy Gobert (DraftExpress): Get this: Gobert is 7’2″ with a 7’9″ wingspan and a 9’7″ standing reach. He’s extremely raw (especially offensively), but the defensive potential is tantalizing. If Portland wants a project to develop parallel to Leonard, Gobert is this draft’s definition of pure upside.
Dario Saric (Sporting News): Saric has a high skill level for a 6’10″ 19-year-old, especially in his ball-handling and playmaking ability. However, his offensive game is still developing and he needs to bulk up. Portland might prefer to draft a more NBA-ready prospect.
Steven Adams (Sheridan Hoops): Adams is an athletic seven-footer, and has garnered interest for his potential as a difference-maker defensively and on the boards. Leonard is a factor in whether the Blazers pick him, but Adams could grow into the rim defender Portland wants.
Gorgui Dieng (HoopsWorld): At 23 years old, Dieng is one of the oldest prospects this year. Primarily a shot-blocker with decent shooting and passing skills, Dieng wouldn’t be a bad fit with the Blazers if they wanted a low-risk/low-upside rookie that can contribute immatediately.
Shabazz Muhammad (The Hoops Report): Between his disappointing play last year and the fact that he might’ve been lying about his age, Muhammad’s draft stock has fallen quickly. However, the Blazers wouldn’t say no to having Muhammad’s scoring ability on their bench behind Matthews and Batum.
These are the players that the experts believe Portland might draft. There are a number of centers, as well as a number of project players. Portland has indicated that they might not be interested in either, but the draft is unpredictable and GM Neil Olshey is on record saying that he will draft by talent, not need. Not to mention, the Blazers might just trade their 10th overall pick for a veteran center.
The NBA Draft is set for June 27, almost a full month from now. With more options on the table for them than most other teams, the Trail Blazers might be the most unpredictable team in the first half of the draft.