We’ve entered the most crucial part of the year for the Portland Trail Blazers. Only 16 games remain for the Blazers to try to boost their lottery odds as much as possible. Their last victory — behind Josh “the Javelin” Hart’s career night — over the Washington Wizards really ought to be their last win of the year.
As Portland trudges through the tail-end of their season, some possible future members of the team are gearing up to play the most meaningful basketball games of their young careers. March Madness officially tips off with the “First Four” on Tuesday, March 15.
There are a handful of prospects who won’t be found competing in the NCAA’s infamous battle royale: international players like Ousmane Dieng and Nikola Jovic, or G-Leaguers MarJon Beauchamp and Dyson Daniels, or collegiate athletes whose teams fell short of the “Big Dance” such as Patrick Baldwin Jr.
A March Madness first round viewing guide to scout possible future Portland Trail Blazers
For the most part, though, March Madness has always been the greatest showcase of NBA prospects, a seething dissection of how players can perform under immense pressure and against increasingly stout competition.
Here’s a comprehensive scouting guide for the first round that covers the possible lottery picks that are going dancing:
Wednesday, March 16, 9:10 PM ET – (11) Notre Dame vs (11) Rutgers
Blake Wesley, one of the nation’s hottest scoring guards, will look to lead the Fighting Irish out of the First Four against a well-balanced, seasoned Scarlet Knights squad that features some NBA pedigree with Ron Harper Jr.