Portland Trail Blazers’ 2023 NBA Draft Big Board 1.0

Victor Wembanyama, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images) /
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Dereck Lively II, Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Dereck Lively II, Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

8. Dereck Lively II, Duke

Lively was a five-star recruit and significant get for the Blue Devils out of high school, but he underwhelmed during his freshman campaign.

Lively finished the season averaging 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. Not staggering numbers, and certainly not ones you’d want in a first-round pick that would need to play legitimate minutes as a rookie.

However, Lively has more upside – both offensively and defensively – than Clowney, and began to show it as the season progressed.

The 19-year-old is solidly built at 7-1, 230 pounds, and has a 7-7 wingspan. He has great athleticism and soft hands, which make him an ideal rim runner in pick-and-roll situations. He is quick to turn defense into offense as well, often sprinting down the court and heading straight for the rim where those same skills come into play.

Similar to Clowney, though, Lively’s immediate impact would come on the defensive end where his athleticism, length, and agility allow him to be an above-average rim protector right now, and potentially an elite one. He can help on a switch and recover quickly to fly in for blocks near the basket.

Another athletic big man who could provide depth, size, and improve Portland’s interior defense.