While there is some strong consensus among those taking a stab at predicting the 2022 NBA Draft about who the Trail Blazers might select with the seventh overall pick -- five of the examples below have Portland taking the same player -- the prospect of potentially trading the pick also gives the sense they’re one of the biggest wildcards selecting in the lottery. Just about anyone who covers both the NBA and its yearly draft has noted the distinct possibility Portland, under the direction of General Manager Joe Cronin, could trade their pick for veteran talent, a prospect even hinted at by Cronin himself. So even though there seem to be a few likely options when Portland makes their selection, whether they’ll actually be making that selection for themselves or another team muddies the waters considerably. That uncertainty is probably a good thing for the Trail Blazers.
Do Cronin and his staff know at this point who they’d select if they end up keeping the seventh pick? Probably, though I’ve heard rumblings that they might hold one more workout before Thursday. Are teams waiting to see who is available at seven before making their best offer? Almost certainly. There is quite a bit of agreement among the mocks about the first five picks -- for the record, the track record for correct mock draft picks isn’t all that strong -- but after that, it seems fairly wide open. Again, that’s probably a good thing for the Blazers.
So having said all of that, here’s a roundup of the most recent mock drafts. Every player selected on Portland’s behalf has worked out for the Trail Blazers but one (and I’m fairly skeptical of that outlier), with five players comprising the totality of the picks.
• Jon Givony at ESPN has the Trail Blazers selecting G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels with the 7th overall pick...
The Blazers are early in their rebuilding process and can afford to swing for the fences for a prospect like Daniels, who possesses significant upside but will need time to fill out his frame and become a more dynamic scorer. Daniels would be an excellent understudy for Damian Lillard while still having the length and defensive versatility to operate in the same backcourt with him and Anfernee Simons. Daniels doesn't need the ball to make his presence felt, as he's an excellent decision-maker, passer, cutter and rebounder and a rapidly improving shooter. He defends everyone from the point of attack to bigger wing-forwards and makes quite a few plays off the ball.
Givony had Portland selecting Kentucky center Jalen Duren in his previous mock draft.
Daniels, a 6-6, 19 year-old Australian, was one of the first players Portland had in for a pre-draft workout this year. He averaged 11.6 points on 45 percent shooting from the field, 30 percent shooting from three and 53 percent shooting from the line, 6.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.0 steals last season for the Ignite.
Givony also has Portland selecting Duke small forward Wendell Moore Jr. with the 36th pick and Cremona point guard Matteo Spagnolo with the 57th pick.
• Kevin O'Connor at The Ringer has the Trail Blazers taking Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe with their first-round selection, though he thinks it might not be a long relationship...
The Trail Blazers have been fielding offers for this pick from a number of teams, according to sources. There’s a distinct possibility they will move it. Whether they hold on to it or not, Sharpe is a potential target here as an explosive scorer who is comfortable using an array of moves to get into his stepback 3-pointer. Though he’s raw as a playmaker, Damian Lillard or Anfernee Simons would be running the show in Portland. Putting in a more consistent effort on defense will be a big key to success for Sharpe. But he has shown enough flashes of grit and unselfishness to make it clear he has the qualities of a potential star.
O'Connor had Portland selecting Dyson Daniels in his previous mock draft.
Sharpe was one of the last players Portland had in for a workout in Tualatin, though it's still possible they squeeze in a few more runs before Thursday's draft. Sharpe, who knows he has questions to answer, looks like a lock to go in the Top 10 despite not playing during his one season with the Wildcats.
• It looks like the folks at CBS Sports have just about everyone on staff turning out a mock draft, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
First, Kyle Boone has the Trail Blazers selecting Iowa forward Keegan Murray, who has not worked out for the Trail Blazers so far, with the 7th pick...
Portland is at an inflection point with its franchise right now after trading away CJ McCollum. An aging Damian Lillard likely leaves it in a spot where it will try to contend, though. So if that's the goal here then you'd be hard pressed to find a better talent to fit that desire than Murray. He was one of the most productive players in college hoops last season. A true four-man who can defend at a high level and space the floor as a shooter.
For what it's worth, I think Murray is one of the players in Portland's range that they would not trade away, though this is pretty much the only mock draft I've seen that has him falling past the first six picks. Boone also has Daniels going 4th and Jeremy Sochan 5th, both are as high as I've seen either player on any mock draft.
Though Boone has obviously done his homework, as he extends his mock draft all the way through the second round, and with extended player evaluation at that! So with the 36th pick, Boone has Portland selecting Tennessee point guard Kennedy Chandler...
After measuring just shy of 6-foot at the NBA Draft Combine, Chandler may slip into the late first or early second round on draft night. But his explosiveness, speed and ability to dictate pace as a lead guard could make him a draft night steal as someone who I think has starting point guard potential.
Portland already has one one-and-done guard from Tennessee in Keon Johnson. Maybe they go for another, though I have my doubts they'd take an undersized point guard here, as the second round is where teams are generally more apt to value need over best player available.
And with the 57th pick, Boone has Portland selecting G League Ignite forward Michael Foster Jr...
Foster has done well for himself the last few months by trimming down and showing up to the combine in fantastic shape after producing at a high level with G League Ignite. The former five-star recruit is a tough player in the post who has been productive at every level. Plays with a high motor and continues to show improvement as a prospect.
Then there's Gary Parish, who has the Trail Blazers selecting Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin with the 7th overall pick...
Mathurin was the star of Arizona's team that won the Pac-12 and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-6 wing is an impressive athlete and above-average shooter who would be a nice addition for a Portland franchise still building around Damian Lillard.
Mathurin participated in a workout in Tualatin. Parish had Portland selecting Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji in his previous mock draft.
Sharpe makes sense for the Blazers for a couple of reasons. If they end up keeping the pick, he's the most intriguing prospect at this point in the draft to dangle as a potential trade sweetener for a win-now player or two. Secondly, if Portland eventually decides to part ways with Damian Lillard and commence a full rebuild, Sharpe is exactly the type of young player you'd want to build around -- an elite athlete with size, finishing ability and tremendous shot-creating and playmaking potential.
Sharpe has no college film to evaluate after enrolling at Kentucky in for the spring semester but not suiting up. He's billed as an athletic shooting guard with the explosiveness to create shots and finish at the rim, and he wound up as the No. 3 ranked prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. That slotting put him ahead of players like Jabari Smith, Jalen Duren and AJ Griffin. It's hard to see a prospect with those credentials slipping much further in this draft.
• Jeremy Woo at SI.com has Portland selecting Dyson Daniels at No. 7...
The possibility of Portland trading this pick to improve the roster in the short term has been bandied about in NBA circles for quite a while, as the Blazers search for veteran help to replenish the roster around Damian Lillard. Whether that means they look to trade back or out of the draft entirely is unclear, but expect them to be active. If the Blazers keep their pick, Daniels would likely hold appeal here as a player who can help thread the needle between finding short-term help and transitioning into a rebuild, whenever Portland decides to go that direction. His defensive chops and ability to run offense would immediately give the Blazers a boost.
Having already spent a successful year in the G League, Daniels is one of the most mature prospects in the lottery and has been a standout in the predraft process, endearing himself to teams in interviews, and measuring and shooting well at the combine. He’s a jack of all trades with the size, strength and smarts to defend four positions while playing all over the floor on offense. His catch-and-shoot game remains a work in progress, but he’s made improvements in that area and figures to make enough shots to keep defenses honest. Daniels has no glaring holes in his game, and while he’s not going to be a No. 1 scoring option in the NBA, very few players ever are. He has one of the highest floors in the draft, and his upside is perhaps a bit undersold, as well.
Woo had Portland selecting Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin the last time we checked in on his picks. As for "trading back or out of the draft entirely," I'd be a bit surprised if the Blazers didn't end up with at least one first round pick, be it their own or one acquired from another team.
Woo also extended his mock draft through the second round and has Portland selecting Nebraska guard Bryce McGowens with the 36th pick and Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero with the 57th pick.
• Krysten Peek at Yahoo! Sports also has the Trail Blazers selecting Dyson Daniels with the 7th pick...
Daniels had a great showing at the combine with his pro day and interviewed well with teams. After a slow start in the G League, Daniels surged to close the season, creating for others and showcasing his size and length against much stronger opponents. His upside is off the charts and there has been some chatter that he could sneak into the top five after strong team workouts.
Peek had Portland selecting Bennedict Mathurin in our last mock draft roundup.
• Ricky O'Donnell at SBNation has put together his most recent mock draft by a "most likely pick" and then who would be the "best pick" in their opinion of the remaining players. So for the Trail Blazers, they have Memphis center Jalen Duren as the "most likely" pick and Duke guard AJ Griffin as the "best" pick...
Why Jalen Duren is the most likely pick on the board: Portland is rumored to be shopping this pick for veteran help for Damian Lillard. Duren shouldn’t drop much further than this whether the Blazers are keeping the pick or trading it. The Memphis freshman is the youngest American prospect in the draft, but already has the physicality to compete in the league with a strong frame, long arms, and quick feet. Centers who don’t shoot rarely feel like they’re worth a top-7 overall pick, but Duren is the exception because of his combination of quickness, power, and versatility in the pick-and-roll defensively.
Why AJ Griffin is the best pick on the board: Duren, Sharpe, and Griffin make up Tier 2 on our draft board because of their youth, physical tools, and upside. Griffin didn’t look as explosive as he did in high school after repeated knee injuries, but he still shot 45 percent from three-point range and has a pro-ready frame for a wing. If he can stay healthy and improve as a north-south driver, he’s going to provide a lot of value for whoever drafts him.
Both Duren and Griffin participating in solo workouts with the Trail Blazers.
• Jonathan Wasserman at Bleacher Report joins the growing consencus of mock drafters who have Portland selecting Dyson Daniels with the 7th overall pick...
By June 23, Daniels will have worked out for every team picking Nos. 4-11. Between his age (19), versatility and maturity, which has become evident to teams during the interview process, Daniels is being viewed as a can't-lose selection in the mid-lottery.
The draft has been perceived to have four potential stars—Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey. In the next tier, Daniels has become the desirable star role player with a high floor that suggests a team can't go wrong. The fact that he could be used in so many different ways—either at point guard or off the ball as a wing or forward—allows teams to not have to worry about fit.
Wasserman also has Portland selecting Arizona center Christian Koloko with the 36th pick and Purdue forward/center Trevion Williams with the 57th pick.
• Kyle Irving at Sporting News has another "Dyson Daniels to Portland" prognostication at No. 7...
The Trail Blazers need help on the defensive end and Daniels is one of the best and most versatile defenders in this draft class. At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Daniels can guard up and down the positional chart with his size, length and speed. He's a jumbo playmaker who can make life easier for Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons when he has the ball in his hands, but he can also play off the ball and score as a slasher. After spending a year with the Ignite, he'll be ready to make an impact immediately, which fits Lillard's win-now timeline more than some of these other prospects.
Irving also has Portland selecting Duke forward Wendell Moore Jr. with the 36th pick (not often that two mock drafts have a team taking the same player in the second round) and Purdue center Trevion Williams with the 57th pick.
• Jake Weinbach at Hoops Habit has Portland selecting Memphis center Jalen Duren with the 7th pick...
If the Portland Trail Blazers keep this pick, Jalen Duren would be a buzzing selection. As a defensive beast with elite athleticism and length, Duren could help strengthen Portland’s lackluster defense while complementing superstar Damian Lillard on the offensive end with his ability to soar above the rim and screen and roll to the basket. He’s an excellent rim protector and athlete that would immediately benefit the Blazers in the frontcourt.
Four centers -- you can list them as power forwards all you want, they're playing center in the NBA -- being taken in the first seven picks, despite the style of play most employed by most teams in the current NBA would really be something.