The pick at No. 7: Taylor Hendricks, University of Central Florida Knights
For those who don’t follow draft Twitter heavily, Hendricks’ name might not ring a bell. That’ll change soon, as he’s loudly announced his presence as a lottery talent all season.
Once the draft combine hits and he has a chance to show off his athleticism and talents to more eyes, Hendricks will be widely regarded as a star-level prospect.
Hendricks, in many ways, is the prototypical combination forward-center for the modern NBA. He has supernatural instincts as a weak-side shot blocker, has one of the better shooting strokes in this class, and has consistently improved throughout the season, even as defenses put more and more pressure on him as the UCF Knights’ top option.
It’s easy to see what kind of fit Hendricks will have in the NBA as a player who can defend guards, wings, and bigs while also spraying threes with reckless abandon. Hendricks will fit as a forward unicorn on both ends of the floor:
Portland is rich in impact guards but is still searching for a defensive forward who can also improve their offensive schemes. Hendricks is the ideal player to fit both roles, as he could help turn the team’s defensive woes into “woahs” while also spreading the floor.
With enough seasoning, he could one day form one of the league’s most fearsome screener-dribbler combinations with Lillard.