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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CBS Sports: Donovan Clingan, Center, Connecticut

In CBS Sports Insider Garry Parrish's mock draft, the Blazers take Donovan Clingan, the only repeating prospect selection. Clingan is more of a traditional center offensively but moves his feet well on defense for his size. His presence could significantly bolster the Blazers' interior defense. 

"The only real thing preventing him from being an ideal big in the modern-NBA is a reliable jumper. But everything else — an ability to block and alter shots, switch comfortably onto smaller players, etc., — is pretty easy to see and why Clingan could be a great long term fixture in the middle for Portland."

Gary Parrish

Even though the Blazers already have Ayton, Robert Williams, and an emerging Duop Reath, they could benefit from getting more size. For one, Williams is, unfortunately, injury-prone and has only played more than 50 games in a season twice in his career.  

Secondly, adding another defensive-minded big man becomes more of a priority when considering the Western Conference's landscape. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are on a similar timeline as the Blazers, and both have versatile young centers in Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren. 

One or both teams will be on Portland's playoff path when they eventually return. With these two lottery picks, Portland should start thinking about how to best match up with this new generation of unicorn big men. From that perspective, Clingan makes sense if he's still available at pick No. 7.