Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a versatile young asset with upside
The most intriguing of the four most recent acquisitions is Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a third-year 6’6″ wing who played two years at Virginia Tech before being drafted 17th in the 2019 NBA draft. The Trail Blazers took Nassir Little eight picks later, and those two, along with Simons, could end up forming the future core of the Blazers.
Or maybe a handful of them get traded for Ben Simmons or James Harden this summer. Or perhaps Alexander-Walker gets packaged along with Jusuf Nurkic and another newly acquired asset and sent to Sacramento in the next 40 hours or so. At this point the Blazers could go in any one of about seven directions.
But at least the Portland has some options for the next season or two last week’s roster didn’t provide. Alexander-Walker, like Hart, is capable of defending multiple positions better than just about anyone who was a Blazer on February 1. But his contract will become an issue after next season, when he is due a $7 million-plus qualifying offer.
Considering his production so far this season – career-highs of 12.8 points, 26.3 minutes, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 12.6 shots per game – that may be a fair price for the youngster. But if the Blazers aren’t willing to pick up that tab, his modest expiring contract will have some trade value a year from now.