Knicks Pick Candidate #4: Rayan Rupert, New Zealand Breakers
If the Blazers want to take a developmental forward but don’t love the current crop of college prospects at that position, there are two players hooping overseas who may be better fits for the team’s timing and trajectory.
The first is Rayan Rupert, who is currently playing in the Australian NBL for the New Zealand Breakers. At just 18 years old, Rupert is one of the youngest and rawest forwards in the class, but he’s flashed enough as the season has progressed that taking a flier on him might be less risky than a player like Walsh.
Rupert is an unfinished product on the offensive end, with poor shooting numbers and a limited amount of creation tools at his disposal, but that hasn’t stopped him from earning playing time for his team. He’s earned his keep by smothering opponents with his wingspan, engulfing offenses with how he eats space, and finishing athletically in transition:
The Blazers have a great infrastructure for Rupert to develop his jumper, improve his ball-handling, and slowly work his way into a bigger role on the team. He has the frame and athleticism to be one of the most physically talented wings in the entire NBA, and although he may not get there, the Blazers could do much worse than taking a swing on a prospect like that.