The Portland Trail Blazers may need to start focussing on the NBA draft if they fall out of the playoffs. What will they be looking for come June?
Portland Trail Blazers fans may need to start focussing on prospects in the NBA Draft lottery if their team falls out of the playoff race in the next month. This team needs some specific skill sets for the future and the draft could be the place to get them.
The Blazers squad needs to be assessed as a whole fit unit to see what this team needs. When Rodney Hood, Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic return then you can look down the list and combine their skills with what we saw on court this year.
The return of this three will give this team positional size first and foremost. It will help with the rebounding and screen setting, while also giving more shooting and a better finishing at the rim. Defensively they will be better in the front court.
Guard / wing defense and attacking the rim are the two things that stand out as lacking on this team once you add in the three players mentioned above.
A guard heavy draft in 2020 may be ideal for this team. If they do end up in the lottery then we have seen the potential to move up with the way the new draft lottery odds work. Even if they don’t end up in the lottery, the guard prospects are still heavy all the way through the first round.
Focussing on the above skills, a few different prospects come to mind.
Devin Vassell is a six-foot-seven small forward out of Florida State. Though he is a Sophomore and not your usual one and done prospect, someone more polished fits the Blazers timeline better. Vassell shoots 42 percent from three and is already an impressive defender. If drafted, he, Gary Trent Jr and Nassir Little would have the extra size at the two, three and four that this team needs. He can also pull-up from three as well, shooting off the dribble is such a important skill in the NBA these days. Mocked between 13 and 17, he may be in the right slot for the Blazers come June.
Josh Green is an intriguing prospect out of Arizona. A shooting guard / small forward who is originally from Australia, his shot hasn’t come on yet, but he is projected around 25 at the because of his raw athleticism and shooting ability. An excellent transition player, he could be a difference maker on defense if he continues to develop. At six-foot-six he already averages 1.6 steals per game. If the Blazers are looking for raw athleticism in terms of attacking the rim and defense, then Green could be their man.
Similar to Green is one and done prospect Cassius Stanley from Duke. An otherworldly athlete, his defensive effort and quickness would translate to the NBA level. Though there are concerns about his jumper, he has shot an impressive 37 percent from three at the college level this season. He doesn’t have great vision in terms of passing, but it’s his rim attacking prowess and speed in the open court which the Blazers are craving. Though the Blazers don’t have a second round pick this year, they could easily move a future one to get a prospect they liked in this draft.
The playoffs are looking less likely each game, and with Damian Lillard ruled out for the Orlando Magic game, they are struggling to get the easy wins they need. Focussing on the draft will be the next step if they fall out of contention all together.
It’s not all bad though, with exciting talent on the roster and in the upcoming draft, we can get a sneak peek into what should be a massive 2021 season for this team.