2024 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs prioritize two-way talents, Magic land surprise steal

Predicting how the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft will unfold with less than a week to go.
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Donovan Clingan
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Pick No. 7: Portland Trail Blazers select Donovan Clingan

Donovan Clingan at No. 7 overall would be a dream scenario for Joe Cronin and the Trail Blazers. The Blazers have been linked to having interest in the Connecticut center. It’s only a matter of if he falls to No. 7, which, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, is viewed as the “absolute floor” for the big man.

The Blazers could also potentially move up to select Clingan, with the Houston Rockets at No. 3 seeming to be the most likely trade partner. Still, it ultimately depends on how much the Rockets are asking for in return and how highly they view Clingan compared to the other prospects expected to be available when they are on the clock at No. 7.

At 7-foot-2 with elite rim-protecting abilities, Clingan’s NBA comparison is someone like Rudy Gobert, meaning his primary impact will be on the defensive end. This would be a great pairing with the Blazers’ backcourt duo of Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe, who are ball-dominant, offensive-minded guards. Clingan can significantly impact the outcome of a game without necessarily needing the ball, as evidenced by his back-to-back NCAA national championships with UConn.

If Clingan isn’t available, a wing like Ron Holland, Cody Williams, or Dalton Knecht makes sense as a landing spot here. In this scenario, though, Clingan’s upside is too tantalizing for Porltand to pass up despite the murky fit with Deandre Ayton still in the mix. Between Henderson, 20, Sharpe, 21, and Clingan, 20, Rip City would have their foundational trio to build around.