Blazers NBA draft sleeper No. 5: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA, Guard/Forward
Jaime Jaquez Jr. had a productive senior year at UCLA, averaging 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 steals on 48/32/77 shooting splits. At UCLA, he demonstrated his versatility and value as an offensive player who can help a team in various ways.
One of his most impressive attributes is his isolation game and ability to score in one-on-one situations, which should translate to the next level.
Additionally, if teams help out on Jaquez Jr., he’s also a willing and capable passer. He’s an effective post player with solid footwork that allows him to get shots off, even against bigs.
The NBA is pick-and-roll and switch-heavy, and Jaquez Jr. is a player who can take advantage of mismatch opportunities. His offensive skill set would give the Blazers another dimension and option as another go-to scorer when needed.
Defensively, Jaquez Jr. has good awareness and the ability to anticipate plays. As a result, he’s a solid help defender who gets steals and blocks. He could improve his quickness, which could hinder his ability to keep up with quicker guards on the perimeter.
Another good thing is that he’s a solid rebounder, another area of need for the Blazers. At the NBA Combine, Jaquez Jr. measured a 39-inch vertical, showcasing his underrated athleticism that helps his rebounding and help defense. He’s a well-rounded player who does many things well on both ends of the court.
With the uncertainty around their current forwards, the Blazers could use a player like Jaquez Jr. His polished game and offensive versatility would make him a valuable asset for Portland.