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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Jarace Walker (right), Houston (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jarace Walker (right), Houston (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

6. Jarace Walker, Houston

There’s a reason Walker is ranked fifth on The Ringer’s NBA-wide Big Board. Those same reasons are why he’s toward the top of Portland’s, as well.

Despite having yet to turn 20 years old, Walker is physically ready to play significant minutes at the pro level. He’s listed at 6-8, 240 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan. Even better for the Blazers, his calling card at this point in his career is his defense. (Sensing a theme here?)

As is the case with Wallace, Walker looks like he enjoys playing defense. He’s competitive and has the physical traits – size, athleticism, length, agility – that allow him to play in switchable schemes and guard 1 through 5 at times.

There are similarities between Walker and Golden State linchpin Draymond Green. They can both play as undersized centers, have defense-centric games, and have enough basketball IQ to be able to master rotations and schemes.

The similarities between Walker and Green continue on the opposite end of the floor. Walker shows potential as a playmaking forward, but is more gifted physically than Draymond, with the ability to play above the rim more than the former Michigan State Spartan.

If he lands in Portland, Walker would fit well as a defensive stopper, rebounder, and ball-mover on offense.