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Draft Night Reaction: Blazers Get 'Good Value' in Maryland's Layman

by Cody Sharrett

Without a pick entering the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey bought-in to the second round of the draft by sending cash considerations and a future second-round pick to the Orlando Magic to select University of Maryland forward Jake Layman.

Layman, a 6-9, 220 lb. athlete, averaged 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Terrapins during his senior season while shooting 39.6% from beyond the three-point line. Over his four seasons with the Terps, the New England native held averages of 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds over 141 games during his collegiate career. Layman helped Maryland to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances during his junior and senior seasons, earning a berth in the Sweet Sixteen in 2015-16. 

Following the draft, here is what the national media is saying about the Trail Blazers' move and Layman's prospects as a pro...

AJ Neuharth-Keusch and Michael Singer of USA Today gave the Blazers a 'C-' for the night, but were very complimentary of Layman's offensive ability: 

"As a pure-shooting, athletically gifted 6-foot-9 wing, Layman fits the bill in Portland. But he lacks consistency and versatility."

ESPN's resident draft expert Chad Ford wrote that while the Blazers may lament giving up their first round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Arron Afflalo during the 2014-15 season, trading to acquire Layman's rights was a solid move in round two. He gave Portland a 'C+' overall: 

"Portland gave up its first-round pick to Denver as part of the Arron Afflalo trade in 2015. If the Blazers could go back and do that again, I'm sure they wouldn't make the deal. 

They did, however, get good value in the second round. Layman is an NBA-level athlete and shooter. But he lacked assertiveness on the floor at Maryland."'s Sam Vecenie grades the Blazers a 'B-' and noted that while Layman has pro-level offensive ability, his defense will need to improve as he adapts to the NBA:

"Portland moves into the draft to get Layman, a big combo forward who can really shoot it from distance. The question is whether or not he can find anyone to defend at the next level."

At FOX Sports, Aaron Torres wasn't as impressed as others with Portland's move, as he graded the selection a 'D-': 

"The Blazers had just one pick, and used it on a guy who probably won't be in the NBA for very long.

Yes, Layman was a projected first-round pick coming into the year. But after watching him against elite talent at the Nike Skills Academy last summer (and in the Big Ten this year), I think he might want to consider getting his passport updated."


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