The 2020 NBA draft isn’t on many people radars for a reason. The NBA season has just begun and with the trade deadline approaching no fans are really worried about the draft yet. The Portland Trail Blazers though, like every NBA team, will have their scouts eyeing up the next draft prospect. What do the Blazers need skill wise and which prospects in the 2020 draft class could be a good fit on this team?
The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t looking like they will be picking in the 20s in next years NBA draft. With the rough start to the year its more likely they will between 10 and 19. If they are out of the playoffs this may even mean being in the lottery. With the new lottery odds, this is a good thing. The Pelicans rose a long way to get the number one pick and select generational talent, Zion Williamson.
They do need to draft for need at the moment, below we detail what this team will need and who in the draft looks to have these skills.
Depth on the wing / Rim finishing
Though Zach Collins will return before next years draft the Blazers are in urgent need of help at the three and the four. Collins is the prototypical stretch big that this team can build around moving forward. But he is classified as a big, leaving Rodney Hood as the only true option at the three.
This team needs someone to play the three and the four who is athletic. Ideally they can get to the basket and draw fouls. The current iteration of this team is undersized with no one capable of finishing at the rim at a decent clip.
Three prospects stick out at the moment as players that could help this team and be potential building blocks.
Precious Achiuwa sticks out as a guy that could do it all for this team. Currently in his first year at Memphis, Achiuwa played his school ball at Monteverde Academy. A 6’9 power forward, he is in the top 20 in the NCAA when it comes to drawing fouls at an obscene 7.7 attempts a game.
He has great length with a 7’2 wing span, and is naturally strong for his age. Though his shooting is still developing, if this comes on he could be a real difference maker in the NBA. He is currently mocked between 10 and 20. While has averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds through his first eight games this season.
Jalen Smith is the next cab off the rank with a slightly lower mocked position. He is very athletic for his size at 6’10, and has this season started to add weight to his frame. A second year player at Maryland, he has increased all his counting stats from last year.
Offensive rebounding is one of his calling cards, but its pleasing to see his free throw percentage and rim protection numbers increase from last year. So far this season he is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds with two blocks. An athletic big like Smith could be a great foil for the strength of Jusuf Nurkic and the versatility of Collins
The last prospect to look at tonight is Amar Sylla. The Senegalese power forward has a 7’2 wingspan at 6’9, and has already flashed surprising skills for his size. Though you don’t want to compare prospects to Pascal Siakam, Sylla has some ball handling and open floor abilities that are intriguing at his size. He’s already attempting three pointers which is promising.
In his eight games for Tennessee Tech he has averaged eight points and seven rebounds. Sylla is mocked in the mid twenties but much of his draft value may lie in his shot and if he can create for others.
Though a brief scout won’t tell you a lot about these prospects, its important to keep an eye on these names as the Blazers eye their next young piece. With young guards already on the roster, a forward is of utmost importance. The next two months of the season will provide a strong guide for where the forward and center rotation is at. By then the direction for the next draft will be much clearer.