Trail Blazers NBA mock draft roundup: Time to look for Scoot Henderson insurance?

A guard at 5? A guard at 13? What could it mean?
Isaiah Collier, USC Trojans (right)
Isaiah Collier, USC Trojans (right) / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

As the end of the regular season creeps closer, so does the 2024 NBA Draft. Although a road win over the Charlotte Hornets on April 3 all but guaranteed that the Portland Trail Blazers won't earn top odds at the No. 1 overall pick this summer, the general lack of wins does guarantee the franchise will land a premium selection.

General manager Joe Cronin, assistant GM Mike Schmitz and the rest of Portland's front office have drafted well the past few seasons. Taking a risk on Shaedon Sharpe in 2022 seems to be paying off. Jabari Walker was the 57th selection in that class. Rayan Rupert, the 43rd pick last summer, looks like he could be another second-round gem.

The ultimate prize, though, was landing third in the lottery odds last offseason and earning the chance to grab Scoot Henderson. The rookie point guard had an up-and-down season for the Trail Blazers, but as a teenager being tossed into the fire on a bad team, he deserves to play through some growing pains.

According to some recent NBA mock drafts, though, Portland may be looking to use one of its two lottery picks as potential Henderson insurance in case Scoot struggles again in 2024-25.

Trail Blazers 2024 NBA mock draft roundup

Bleacher Report

No. 5: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

We covered Castle extensively here, but the one-and-done freshman would be a perfect addition to the Blazers' backcourt as a 6-foot-6 guard with offensive and defensive versatility. His current calling card is his ability to guard multiple positions at a high level. Offensively, he's strong enough to drive to the basket and finish through defenders at the rim.

He's a smart cutter and underrated playmaker who would fit well in any lineup. He's a prospect who could provide the team with some of that aforementioned Scoot insurance.

No. 13: Kyle Filipowski, C, Duke

An argument can be made that Filipowski's best position in the NBA is power forward, which would pair nicely with Deandre Ayton. The Duke sophomore has guard-like skills - he can pass, shoot and dribble - in a 7-foot, 250-pound frame. Perhaps the most enticing thing about Filipowski is how he can move his feet and guard around the perimeter.

A skilled stretch four who has the size to fill in at center is a useful archetype for any team.


No. 5: Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

No prospect helped his draft stock more in the NCAA tournament than Clingan. The 7-foot, 280-pound center held his own against 7-4 Zach Edey in the national title game, doing his best to keep the National Player of the Year from getting post touches near the rim. Edey scored 37 points, but when Clingan was defending, a lot of those buckets came further away from the basket where Edey is less comfortable.

Clingan is a work in progress offensively but shows upside as a pick-and-roll big who can seal off defenders and score down low. At 20 years old, he still has time to improve. But his size and 7-7 wingspan give him a Walker Kessler-like feel as a dominant rim protector.

No. 13: Dalton Knecht, G, Tennessee

Knecht would be an interesting fit with the Blazers as a three-level scorer who struggles on the defensive end. His constant movement, ability to shoot from range off the catch or off the dribble and his high IQ should all translate to the NBA and make him a consistent offensive threat. He could give Portland a spark off the bench or combine with Anfernee Simons to create a bucket-getting backcourt.

USA Today

No. 5: Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

Buzelis is all about projection. He's a 6-foot-10 wing with a nice shooting stroke and explosive athleticism. His size, physical traits and skill set could make him a nightmare in transition in the wide-open NBA. But his most enticing attribute is his shooting versatility, and he shot a whopping 26 percent from three with the Ignite last year.

No. 13: Isaiah Collier, G, USC

Taking Collier would absolutely be a backup plan for Henderson. At 6-foot-5, he's bigger than Scoot but plays a nearly identical game. He uses his size and strength to get to the rim and can be an above-average defender when he puts in the effort. He doesn't have much of an outside shot, though, and was inconsistent with the Trojans. Sound familiar?


No. 5: Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

Another potential Henderson insurance pick, Dillingham could end up as the most explosive scoring guard in the 2024 class. He averaged 15.2 points in 23.3 minutes coming off the bench for the Wildcats last season. He also averaged 6.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals and finished his freshman year with shooting splits of 48/44/80.

If Cronin makes any moves involving Simons this offseason, Dillingham could take over that role as well.

No. 13: Tidjane Salaun

Salaun is next in a recent line of French prospects with raw skills and physical attributes. The 19-year-old is 6-foot-9 with a 7-1 wingspan and the functional athleticism to put that length to good use defensively. He's just beginning to show signs of a consistent jumper but is a good off-ball cutter and finisher at the rim.

He needs some significant seasoning and could spend a year or two in the G League putting everything together, but if it happens, Salaun could be an above-average role player as a long, defensively versatile wing with a serviceable jumper.