Portland Trail Blazers: 3 potentially UDFA steals from the 2021 NBA Draft

Herbert Jones, Portland Trail Blazers, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Herbert Jones, Portland Trail Blazers, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Jason Preston, Ohio University
Jason Preston, Ohio University (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers should give Jason Preston a long look

Ohio University Bobcat point guard Jason Preston is another valuable player that could potentially go undrafted through no fault of his own. Preston’s a strong ball-handler, an intelligent playmaker, and a good athlete at his position.

He’s the type of player that you never have to worry about making a negative play.

At 6’4 with above average quickness and length, he should be at least an average defender against NBA point guards, once he adjusts to the speed of the game at the professional level.

On offense, Preston most likely won’t seek out his own shot, but he’s more than capable of capitalizing on opportunities he comes across. He can drive and finish with both hands, knows how to use his size against smaller guards, and shot over 39 percent from deep his sophomore and junior years at Ohio.

Most importantly, he finished 2020-2021 sixth in the nation in assists at 7.2 per game.

The Blazers have been desperately lacking playmaking outside of Damian Lillard and smart shot creation is Preston’s calling card. If Portland is able to sign him as an UDFA, they’ll be adding a solid floor general, a possible quality defender, and overall, an absolute gamer.

After finishing just two assists shy of a triple-double in the Bobcats upset over the fourth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, Preston likely inserted himself onto some draft boards. As a third-year, Mid-American Conference player at the NBA’s most loaded position though, there’s a decent chance that Preston falls outside of the second round.

If so, the Blazers shouldn’t hesitate to sign him to a “prove it” deal. Even if he needs some time to develop in the G-League, Portland could be landing a valuable backup floor general for years to come.