Portland Trail Blazers sign Wake Forest’s Jaylen Hoard to a two-way contract.
To most, the NBA Draft ends after the deputy commissioner announces the draft’s 60th selection. However, for all the front offices around the league like the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as members of the media, there is still much more to cover.
Almost as hectic is the post draft frenzy that comes when the programs end. Every year, there are many deserving talented players who are unfortunately not selected during either of the two rounds. For them, the next couple of hours are a frenzy, trying to find the right team that will take them on a free agent contract, summer league agreement, or two-way deal.
It seems as if the Portland Trail Blazers have found one of them in Jaylen Hoard. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wake Forest forward will sign a two-way contract with the team.
Hoard was a highly touted freshman coming into his freshman year, ranked 22nd in the class of 2018. Standing at 6-foot-9, weighing in at 212 pounds with almost a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hoard’s body is ready made for the NBA. It is just the rest of the game that needs to catch up.
Offensively, Hoard was effective in areas that allowed him to use his frame to his advantage. While he showed a workable jump shot by hitting 71.7% of his free throws, he also converted on just 22.6% of his threes, meaning the shot might not work as currently constructed. Hoard needs to develop his skills most on this end of the court.
Defensively, Hoard has shown a little more promise. Using his NBA ready body, Hoard showed flashes of high level of defense during his freshman season. While that also came with expected lapses, Hoard has a much better chance of impacting the game on this end of the court once he improves his feel and gets just a touch stronger.
Personally, it seems that Hoard is a poor man’s version of Nassir Little, the man Portland selected with their 25th pick. Both were highly ranked recruits coming out of college and disappointed in most evaluator’s eyes. Little and Hoard should become solid NBA defenders once they improve their understanding of the game.
The difference is on the offensive end. Little has just shown more flashes and projectable skills during both his high school and college days. However, it is definitely not the worst idea to take a chance on both of these prospects and trust your largely successful development staff to make one of these guys a rotation player. Hopefully it does work out and Portland finds their wing of the future.