23. Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks) land Rayan Rupert
The Blazers were 28th in defensive rating last season and drafting Scoot Henderson makes them extremely small in the backcourt. Damian Lillard is also 6’2 and Anfernee Simons stands 6’3. Portland needs a defensive stopper that they can call on.
Rupert measured at 6’6 with a 7’2 wingspan at the combine, and he showcased tremendous defensive potential in the NBL last season. The 19-year-old makes plays both on and off the ball. His effort and ability will not be questioned, and Rupert could quickly make a positive impact on the defensive end of the floor.
His offensive game is a question mark at this stage. He has shown flashes as a passer, but his ball-handling ability and jumper are not NBA-ready. Will some team fall in love with his defense and take him in the first round or does his lack of offensive pop force him to slip into round two?
The Portland Trail Blazers need defense, and they should be looking to add a prospect that could blossom into a starter quickly. If Rayan Rupert irons out his jumper or improves his handle, he could have a long NBA career as a skilled role player. The teenager needs time to develop, but he already has an elite skill with the potential to further blossom.