Ideal selection at No. 43: Jaime Jaquez, wing, UCLA
This is the first sort of reach of this exercise – Jacquez may be gone before the Blazers are on the clock in the second round. He is an older prospect at 22, though, and has his flaws with an inconsistent 3-point stroke and limited upside, which could see him slide out of the back end of the first round.
But he also has translatable skills that will make him at worst one of the league’s elite role players.
Jaquez is a legitimate isolation scorer. He has the best footwork of any player in this class, big men included. His pump fakes, up-and-unders, ability to finish, draw fouls and play through contact are Jimmy Butler-esque.
He can counter those moves with a reliable turnaround fadeaway and is a solid scorer from the mid-range. He averaged 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on better than 48 percent shooting his senior year with the Bruins.
It’s become cliché, but the 6-7, 220-pound wing simply makes winning plays. He’ll be a willing glue guy in the NBA, but his offensive skill set and high IQ should make him more than that.
Jaquez can be a reliable fifth-starter or elite role player. Think Derrick White but a better scorer or Kyle Anderson with a lot more athleticism.
There’s a more than 50/50 chance the Blazers don’t make all three of these picks on draft night, or they do make the picks and trade them later in the offseason. But if things break this way, Portland gets a franchise-centerpiece guard, a big man with upside who can play minutes right away, and a high-level role player who will contribute to winning on day one.