With the No. 25 selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers have drafted Nassir Little out of North Carolina.
In an effort to upgrade talent at the wing, the Portland Trail Blazers dedicated their first-round draft pick to a promising Tar Heels product Nassir Little. Initially projected a top-five player at beginning of the collegiate season, it’s very surprising to see the gifted wing fall this far in the draft.
Little was always extremely valued as a draft prospect due to his freakish athleticism and strength coupled with his potential in transition and on the defensive end. Due to coach Roy Williams’ personal policy of not starting freshman, Little did not have much opportunity to showcase his abilities. However, he still managed to average 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game.
Initially, Little was projected to go as high as fourth overall due to his natural talent. Fortunately for Portland, being held back at North Carolina probably reduced his stock in the draft. Similarly to Kyle Kuzma in 2017, Little is a forward drafted in the late first-round that can immediately step in and make a big impact.
As seen above, Little clearly demonstrates immense natural ability and feel for the game. If developed properly, he could become an elite ‘3-and-D’ wing for the Blazers. Little presents very high upside and serves as an immediate upgrade to incumbent Portland small forward Moe Harkless. If all goes to plan, Little would be a perfect third wheel to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
As far as player comparisons go, Little projects as a more athletic version of Robert Covington if he can refine his three-point jump shot. Even at his worst, he’s still a more athletic and agile Moe Harkless which is a valuable upgrade all the way at No. 25 overall.
The Portland Trail Blazers should feel incredibly pleased about grabbing one of the most naturally gifted players in the entire NBA Draft. The sky is the limit for Nassir Little.