5 Under-the-radar players Blazers should target in a Damian Lillard trade

Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks, Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks, Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs, Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

Blazers Lillard trade target No. 5: Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs

According to his recent comments, San Antonio has emerged as a dark horse team to acquire Damian Lillard. Lillard supposedly has a “deep respect” for the Spurs.

It might be unreasonable to expect the Spurs to make an all-in type move for Lillard, as they just selected No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama. Here’s the (likely unpopular) argument against that – Wembanyama is considered a generational prospect who may not require the same developmental timeline as other former No. 1 overall picks.

There’s certainly a scenario in which Lillard is still in his prime and Wembanyama is an All-Star-level player, giving the Spurs a legitimate chance as a contender with that duo.

Whether the Spurs are trading directly for Lillard or playing the role of the third team in a deal, a trade target the Blazers should vigorously pursue is Devin Vassell.

Like Patrick Williams, Vassell is entering his fourth year as a member of the 2020 draft class. He was selected No. 11 overall by San Antonio. So far in his young career, Vassell has become a tremendous and underrated pick.

Last season, he averaged 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals on 44/39/78 shooting splits.

Acquiring Vassell would come with a similar concern mentioned with Terance Mann. Both are 6-foot-5 and could be considered questionable fits alongside Portland’s guard trio of Henderson, Sharpe, and Simons. While a bit undersized as a small forward, Mann or Vassell could play the position due to their three-and-D skill sets.

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A projected lineup of Henderson, Sharpe, and Vassell, with Simons (or one of the other guards) coming off the bench is highly intriguing. They’d have a great combination of almost everything you want in an emerging core between All-Star potential, defense, playmaking, shooting, and athleticism.