Blazers 2-round mock draft: Controversial Ignite star headlines hunt for next Giannis

Even in a widely criticized draft class there's an opportunity to find a generational star if you're willing to take the swing.

Ron Holland, G League Ignite
Ron Holland, G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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No. 39: PJ Hall, C, Clemson

PJ Hall is a throwback big man with a well-developed post game and is a senior, two immediate knocks for most NBA teams. But looking at the former four-star prospect in that light would be ignoring the potential skills he's shown that would flash better in the NBA than they do in the ACC.

Hall is averaging 19.6 points and 7.2 rebounds this season. He's also posting 1.8 blocks per game and has averaged more than a block a year since his sophomore campaign. What's even more promising is that offensively, Hall is expanding his skillset from the post to the 3-point line.

As a junior, he shot 39.8 percent on 2.5 attempts from three; this year his percentage has dropped to 31.0, but he's increased his volume to almost 5 a night.

In an upset win at North Carolina on Feb. 6, Hall led the Tigers with 25 points on 4-of-10 shooting from deep to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 of which came on the offensive end, and he did it against National Player of the Year Candidate Armando Bacot.

Hall should fit in in the NBA as a rotation big with the potential to grow into a high-level role player who can stretch the floor, block shots and score on mismatches in the post.

There's no immediate star waiting for the Blazers in the 2024 draft. No Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero.

What could be waiting is a prospect who's being overlooked or one whose flaws have drowned out his potential. If there's no sure thing for Portland, why not aim for the stars and take a flier on a prospect with superstar upside even if there's a chance his name is forgotten in five years?

In other words, why not aim for the next Giannis or Rudy Gobert?

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