Blazers mock draft roundup: Portland lands No. 1 in lottery sim, March Madness rules

The Trail Blazers win the lottery and grab an international star at No. 1 while filling out the rookie class with March Madness stars.

Joe Cronin, Portland Trail Blazers
Joe Cronin, Portland Trail Blazers / Soobum Im/GettyImages
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Portland takes G League star Ron Holland, potential one-and-done national champion Stephon Castle

Kyle Irving of The Sporting News has what may be the most exciting scenario for the Blazers, even including that lottery leap to the No. 1 overall pick.

No. 5: Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Holland was the best player on a terrible Ignite team this season. He showed the most potential and improved the most from start to finish before his season ended early due to a thumb injury.

Holland is a strong 6-foot-8 wing with a high motor that never stops. It's Russell Westbrook-ian. He's one of the best defenders in this class, and even with a shaky jump shot and limited shot-creation skills, he managed to average more than 20 points in the G League simply on effort and elite physical gifts.

He could be an ideal complimentary two-way player for the Blazers.

No. 13: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Castle is poised to be the breakout star of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. He's a starter for the Huskies, a team that will almost certainly make a deep run and is the favorite to win the whole thing.

The 6-foot-6 freshman would slide perfectly into Portland's rebuild as a guard/forward hybrid who can playmake and defend at a high level. He's an interesting and wildly enticing combination of a big guard and a versatile, lock-down wing.

Castle can play as a true point guard who can run an offense, as a secondary ball-handler and shot-creator or as a scorer who can use his size and strength to get to the rim. All that's left offensively is for him to develop a reliable jump shot.

The physical attributes that allow him to be such a versatile offensive weapon help him on the defensive end. With his size and quickness, he can guard one through four with almost limitless switchability.

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The issue with this Castle pick is that after he likely shows out on a national stage over the next month, there's no way he's still available at No. 13. If he's there at No. 5, though, Portland would do well to grab perhaps the best future NBA player in the entire 2024 draft early.