Blazers mock draft roundup: Portland prioritizes defense at pick No. 7

The Portland Trail Blazers have a trending prospect at pick No. 7 in the latest 2024 NBA mock drafts; his defensive impact could give them a new team identity.
Apr 6, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32)
Apr 6, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Yahoo Sports: Ron Holland, Guard/Forward, G League Ignite

Yahoo Sports NBA draft analyst Krysten Peek's mock draft has the Blazers going with a G League Ignite player again after selecting Scoot Henderson last season. The Blazers have a record of taking flyers on players who didn't play against collegiate competition. Anfernee Simons is another example, deciding to play at IMG Academy instead. Shaedon Sharpe technically went to Kentucky but didn't play a single game. 

There are parallels between Holland and Sharpe, the No. 7 pick in the 2022 draft class. Both highly ranked high school recruits have tantalizing athleticism and must improve their jump shot consistency. It would be a scary pairing if both could find a way to space the floor for each other. But if Holland can't improve his shot, this could be a bad fit for a Blazers team that was dead last in three-point percentage last season.

Last season with the Ignite, Holland averaged 20.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game on 44/24/76 shooting splits. His scoring may be more challenging to transition to the NBA level of play, but his defense should be transferable on day one.

"Holland was a high-volume scorer on a struggling Ignite team, but teams might look past his score-first instincts with the lack of playmakers on the team this year. He's one of the best defensive forwards in this class, averaging 2.3 steals per game."

Krysten Peek

At 6-foot-8, Holland's length, athleticism, and defensive instincts suggest he could be a future defensive stalwart who can guard multiple positions and switch seamlessly in pick-and-rolls.

Besides his questionable shooting, it's easy to see why some scouts and analysts love Holland as a prospect. Some analysts even consider him the top-ranked prospect in this draft class, which shows the parity.