Blazers waste lottery picks on sure-fire busts, earn an F in latest Ringer mock draft

A shooter who can't shoot and the next Kevin Knox? Is there a grade lower than an F?

RJ Davis, North Carolina (left); Kyshawn George, Miami
RJ Davis, North Carolina (left); Kyshawn George, Miami / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The only way to build a championship contender in the NBA is to do it around a superstar, and the only way the Portland Trail Blazers are landing one of those is through the draft. So even though this year's class is widely considered a poor one, it's still critical that the front office finds some type of foundational piece.

As of March 12, Portland is set to have two lottery selections in the 2024 NBA Draft. That's two bites at the apple; two opportunities to draft that crucial asset or potential star.

But in a recent mock draft courtesy of The Ringer, the Blazers' front office whiffs badly on both selections with a shooter who hasn't shown he can shoot and a one-and-done freshman who gives off serious Kevin Knox vibes.

Trail Blazers pick Matas Buzelis, Kyshawn George in 2024 NBA mock draft

Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

With the No. 6 pick, Ringer draft guru Kevin O'Connor has Portland taking G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis. Buzelis and the Blazers have been linked fairly often in 2024 mocks.

In theory, the 19-year-old is the type of player who would fit well next to Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons. He's a combo forward with some playmaking feel, but the most attractive part of Buzelis' game is his potential as a three-level scorer at 6-foot-10.

The Ignite star's game is aesthetically pleasing; his shot looks smooth, he's fluid off the dribble and he can use his size to pull up and shoot over most defenders. The problem is that he hasn't shown any of that in the G League.

Through 24 games with the Ignite, Buzelis is averaging 13.9 points on 44/29/69 shooting splits. If his potential as an NBA player is tied to his shooting and scoring, the fact that he isn't shooting well or scoring much is a bit of a concern, right? Even while praising his upside as a shooter, O'Connor notes that Buzelis is streaky and writes, "Who is he really as a shooter?"

Kyshawn George, F, University of Miami

You're forgiven if you haven't heard much about Kyshawn George. He's only started 16 games for a sub-.500 Miami Hurricanes team. The term "projection" is commonly used when scouting draft prospects, and George is a poster boy for the word.

The 20-year-old was recruited to Miami as a point guard with good size at 6-foot-5. He's since grown to 6-8 and is shooting 42 percent from three this year. A point-forward skill set that includes a potential 3-point shot is certainly enticing. But George has barely started half of the Hurricanes' games and is only playing 23 minutes per.

O'Connor has the Blazers taking George with the 13th overall pick; if Portland is going to bet on pure upside, there are better options available. He has Baylor's Yves Missi, an athletic shot-blocking, rim-running center going 18th. Duke's Kyle Filipowski, a 7-footer with guard-like skills, lands 20th in this mock. Either would be a better option for the Blazers at No. 13.


A weak draft class undoubtedly presents challenges. There's no consensus top prospect, so teams picking in the lottery will either try to fill a need or grab a high-risk, high-reward player and hope he becomes a star. That's clearly the thinking here in O'Connor's mock, but if these are the two players the Trail Blazers take, it will be a waste of valuable lottery selections.