Mock Draft Roundup With Lottery, Combine Scheduled For Next Week
While most of the attention among NBA fans recently has been on the playoffs, especially now that three of the four teams that will play in their respective conference finals have been decided, preparations for the NBA Draft are also starting to heat up with both the Draft Lottery and Combine scheduled to take place next week. The 2018 NBA Draft is especially important for the Trail Blazers this season, as it's arguably their best chance this offseason in terms of adding talent to the team, be it by selecting a player for themselves with the 24th overall pick -- Portland has no second round pick this year -- or using the pick to bring back talent via trade.
So with the official start of the NBA draft season set to begin next week, here's are some of the best guesses from draft watchers around the internet as to which direction the Trail Blazers might go once the 24th pick comes up...
• Jonathan Givony of ESPN (posted April 13) has the Trail Blazers selecting junior guard/forward Jacob Evans out of Cincinnati...
Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 210
Like most NBA teams, the Blazers could also use two-way depth at the combo forward spots.
Evans is an ultra-versatile player who guards all over the floor, plays on and off the ball and sports a career 38 percent mark from 3-point territory at the college level.
Evans averaged 13.0 points on 43 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from three, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists. 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks in 30.8 minutes this season for the Bearcats, a team that lost to Nevada in the second round the NCAA Tournament.
• Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated (posted on April 18) has the Trail Blazers taking junior guard Khyri Thomas out of Creighton...
Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton | Jr.
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 24
Stats: 15.1 PPG, 41.1% 3FG, 1.7 SPG
Portland could use a defensive-minded guard to rotate into their mix. Thomas was consistently a plus for Creighton and emerged as one of the better on-ball defenders in college basketball this season, while also hitting threes at a strong clip. He’s not a creative scorer, which may limit his overall upside, but has a nice floor given his athleticism and 3-and-D skill set.
Thomas averaged 15.1 points on 54 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent shooting from three, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals in his third season with the Bluejays.
• Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (posted May 8) has the Trail Blazers selecting Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, who currently plays for Barcelona in the Spanish ACB League. He's a 20 year-old, 6-10 forward who also declared for the 2017 NBA Draft before withdrawling.
According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, Kurcus "was projected as a likely first-round pick entering this season, but he has seen his draft stock stagnate due to a lack of playing time with Euroleague powerhouse Barcelona."
• Gary Parrish of CBS Sports (posted April 16) has the Traill Blazers selecting senior forward Chandler Hutchinson out of Boise State...
Chandler Hutchinson | Boise State | Sr | SF
Hutchison just had the best season of his four-year college career while establishing himself as a first-round talent. The 6-7 Mountain West star has all the tools necessary to be a quality NBA wing. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31.0 minutes per game for a Boise State team that won 23 times.
A little more about Hutchinson here, as he was previously linked to the Trail Blazers in an earlier mock draft.
• Chris Stone of The Sporting News (posted April 26) has the Trail Blazers selecting 19 year old shooting guard De'Anthony Melton out of USC...
Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 190
Melton didn’t play this season due to the FBI probe into so-called corruption in college basketball. However, his freshman season performance ought to be enough for a team to take a shot at him in the first round.
The 19-year-old is a capable playmaker with the ball in his hands and an impressive defender. He averaged 2.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes as a freshman. Melton would be a nice third guard to play alongside either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum in various lineups.
No NBA front office is going to be scarred off by "NCAA corruption," but missing an entire season at age 19 might be a bit more concerning.
• The folks at NBADraft.net (posted on May 7), has the Trail Blazers selecting Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the 24th overall pick. The 6-5 guard averaged 13.4 points on 48 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from three, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his junior season while playing a key role in the Wildcats winning the 2018 NCAA Men's National Championship.
• Joe Tansey at Bleacher Report (posted on May 9) also has the Trail Blazers taking junior guard/fowrard Jacob Evans out of Cincinnati.