Portland Trail Blazers: 3 more prospects worth trading into NBA Draft for

Portland Trail Blazers, NBA Draft, CJ McCollum (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers, NBA Draft, CJ McCollum (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Jaden Springer, University of Tennessee, Oregon State University
Jaden Springer, University of Tennessee, Oregon State University (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers could add a backup point guard with room to grow

Jaden Springer, like Jalen Johnson, is another underexposed prospect with limitless potential. It just so happens that the two were former teammates at IMG Academy.

At IMG, Springer earned a 5-star rating from ESPN, ranking as the second-best recruit in the state of Florida and third overall at shooting guard.

While he’s a natural-born attacker, his showings as a facilitator suggest that he can be a primary ballhandler in the NBA.

At just 18 years old, Springer showed in his freshman season with the Tennessee Volunteers that he can make winning plays on both ends of the court. His commitment to making the right play is a huge indicator of his probable positive development as a floor general.

With the Vols, he averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 boards, and 2.9 assists in just under 26 minutes a night, while slashing a stellar 47/44/81. There are questions about his shooting form as his release is very slow developing, a big reason for his low 1.8 3-point attempts per game. With his work ethic and strong showing at the stripe though, I’m confident in his ability to improve his mechanics while retaining his efficiency.

While he’s still a little rudimentary with his handle and court vision, his ability to put constant pressure on the rim should open up passing lanes for Portland’s bigs and myriad shooters.

In both of these clips, Springer uses his athleticism to send the defense into retreat and makes the smart pass to find the open man. Neither of these finds was a basic read. In the former, he uses his eyes to draw the defender from the cutter and then fires a bullet to the block for an easy deuce.

In the second clip, he collapses the paint with his attack and then uses his athleticism to draw two defenders before finding the trailing big in mid-air.

Adding a ballhandler who’s not afraid to attack the cup should create more offensive rhythm for the Blazers bench mob. Springer’s lack of exposure has analysts all over the map on his draft position. Byrum and Hughes have him at 27th, Kalbrosky at eighth, and Wasserman back at 18th.

If he’s still available when the draft is in the 20s, the Blazers should jump at the chance to bag him.