Option No. 2: Vernon Carey Jr.
Some teams head into the NBA draft banking on pure potential, especially toward the end of the lottery and later. High school recruiting rankings often play a factor in that, and Vernon Carey Jr. was about as highly touted as they come.
Before he landed at Duke, Carey Jr. was a five-star recruit and the No. 6 player in the nation, according to 247Sports. He dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference as a freshman, averaging 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his lone season with the Blue Devils.
The Charlotte Hornets made Carey Jr. the 32nd pick in the 2020 draft – five spots behind Azubuike. At 6-10 and 270 pounds, the North Carolina native showed himself to be a smooth athlete with a promising lefty stroke that extended out to the mid-range, although he did most of his damage near the basket.
He has that “old-school” big man game, but his sneaky athleticism allows him to be a weapon in the pick-and-roll as well as near the rim.
Carey Jr. has split his first three seasons between Charlotte and the Washington Wizards, but has only appeared in 37 games and has yet to average double digits in minutes. Still, that five-star pedigree is in there, as is the size and underrated agility.
Carey Jr. could find a role with the Blazers if signed on a minimum contract and given the opportunity.