Blazers mock draft roundup: Portland steals unique prospect rocketing up draft boards

A high-upside wing, an athletic big and a versatile guard are among the picks in draft experts' latest round of 2024 NBA mock drafts.

Stephon Castle, Connecticut Huskies
Stephon Castle, Connecticut Huskies / G Fiume/GettyImages
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While some other NBA fanbases are focused on playoff seeding, Portland fans are beginning to lock in on the latest Trail Blazers mock drafts. Soon, it will be that time of the season when veterans miss games with "back soreness" and players like Delano Banton average 25 minutes a night so the front office can "see what they have."

To that end, here's an assembly of the latest mock drafts from ESPN, The Athletic and Yahoo! Sports, each of which have a different prospect heading to Portland with the No. 5 pick. They also include what direction the Blazers may go in with the Golden State Warriors' pick and both second-rounders.

Portland Trail Blazers 2024 NBA Mock draft roundup

The Athletic (Feb. 20)

No. 5: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

The Blazers already have a glut of guards with Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe, but they don't have one like Stephon Castle.

The Connecticut freshman is 6-foot-6 and may end up as more of a playmaking wing than a guard, but right now he's getting most of his minutes in the backcourt for the best college basketball team in America. Despite being the second-ranked combo guard in the class of 2023 by 247Sports, it took Castle a minute to grab hold of a starting job for the Huskies; but since doing so, he's been invaluable.

The 19-year-old isn't scoring 25 points a game or dishing out 12 assists a night, but he does a little bit of everything and he does it all at a high level. Since the start of January, Castle has averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while committing only 1.6 turnovers. He's also grabbing almost a steal a game. (It's important to remember he's a freshman on a team that's 24-3 and starts two fifth-year seniors and another projected lottery pick.)

The biggest question mark with Castle is his jumper, but he's shooting 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three in his last eight games. It's easy to see him fill Malcolm Brogdon's minutes and play a similar role but do it as a player with a much higher upside who fits Portland's rebuild.

No. 13: Johnny Furphy, F, Kansas

Johnny Furphy has quickly risen from an unknown to a likely one-and-done player since becoming a starter for the Jayhawks, and like Castle, is a key contributor on one of the best teams in the country.

Furphy is a 6-foot-9 wing who, since becoming a full-time starter on Jan. 13, is averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals with shooting splits of 54/41/76. He's an underrated athlete and a good rebounder who can grab a board and lead the fast break, but he's also capable of knocking down shots in the half-court. He's a multipositional defender on the other end.

Teams might have to be patient with a prospect who will be going from a pure upside swing playing in Australia to an NBA rookie in only two years, but Furphy's combination of size, athleticism, shooting and defensive versatility are worth betting on late in the lottery.

No. 34: P.J. Hall, C, Clemson

We covered Hall more in-depth in this piece. He's a productive college player and one of the best big men in the ACC who could develop into a stretch five who can protect the rim and punish smaller defenders on switches.

No. 40: Baylor Scheierman, F, Creighton

Scheierman is almost an older, more established version of Furphy. He's a 6-6 wing who's a career 39 percent shooter from three, but he's a more well-rounded player who's spent a lot of time as a stretch four in college. He's averaging 18.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 4.1 apg this season with the Bluejays.