The pick at No. 9: Gradey Dick, Kansas Jayhawks
If the lottery is unkind to the Blazers, they’ll likely miss out on the entire crop of potential star prospects. Luckily, in a draft with more depth than usual, the team will be faced with an enviable decision: select the best role player who could start for a decade or take a swing a flawed high-ceiling player.
There are enough role players who should be available at No. 9 who could help raise the floor of the Blazers so that a massive swing isn’t necessary. Dick quickly established himself as one of the most pro-ready freshman in the 2023 draft class, starting for a contending Kansas team and becoming its second scoring option.
Watch Dick for a few minutes and his appeal is apparent; no matter what team he’s on, Dick will be one of its best shooters from deep. He brings enough moxie as a ball-handler, driver, and cutter that his total offensive package is worth a lottery swing:
Dick won’t do much to change the defensive shortcomings of the Blazers, but he won’t exacerbate them any further. He’s a smart team defender with good size, fast hands, and a great basketball mind that helps him find open spots on offense and stay in the right rotations on defense.
That type of consistency is important for an already-poor defensive team.
The presence of dual sniper guards in Lillard and Simons will give Dick more open space than he’s ever had in his playing career. Drafting Dick would indicate that Portland is going the way of the Sacramento Kings, hoping to create an offense so deadly that it could outpace other teams without having to get a defensive stop.
With Gradey in the fold, that might just be possible.