2023 NBA Draft: 5 Instant impact sleepers Blazers should target

Kobe Brown, Missouri Tigers, Credit: Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Brown, Missouri Tigers, Credit: Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports /
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Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana Hoosiers
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana Hoosiers, Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski – USA TODAY Sports /

Blazers NBA draft sleeper No. 3: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana, Forward

Trayce Jackson-Davis could be the modern-day big man that Portland has been missing.

Despite being 23 years old, he’s an intriguing prospect as a versatile 6-foot-9 big man with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who could contribute immediately. As a senior, Jackson-Davis averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.9 blocks on 58 percent shooting and 70 percent shooting from the free-throw line.

The first thing that stands out about Jackson-Davis as an NBA prospect is his athleticism. He showcased his athleticism and potential at the NBA Combine, where he impressed with his quickness, vertical leap, and sprint time.

He’s an excellent pick-and-roll lob threat and rim runner in the open court.

His end-to-end quickness should also create many mismatch problems against other NBA centers. That could be a nice change of pace from Jusuf Nurkic and could give the Blazers’ offense another dimension.

He’s a modern-day big who’s a great rim protector and can guard and switch out onto the perimeter with his lateral movement and agility. He reminds some experts of Dallas’ Dwight Powell on defense but with better shot-blocking skills.

One takeaway from this year’s NBA Finals was the importance of a versatile playmaking big. Nurkic is a solid passer as a center; still, he doesn’t bring the ball up or initiate the offense like elite centers around the league can, including Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, and Domantas Sabonis.

The primary knock on Jackson-Davis as a prospect is his lack of shooting and ability to stretch the floor. He only made 21.4 percent of his jump shots and isn’t much of a threat as a floor spacer.

Although he needs to work on his shooting, Jackson-Davis can contribute immediately in various aspects, such as rim running, rebounding, passing, and defending. He does all the intangibles well and is what Portland needs as a versatile big.