Mock Draft Roundup » What Portland Might Do With The 25th Pick
Between the Toronto Raptors winning their first NBA Championship and the reported blockbuster trade sending Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and various first-round draft picks spaced over the next few years heading to the New Orleans Pelicans, the 2019 Draft seems like a bit of an afterthought. But while there might not be the same level of interest for Thursday's draft, which will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and will air on ESPN, that we've seen in seasons past, all 30 front offices are devoting a significant amount of time and resources in an effort to make the right pick once their number is called.
For the Portland Trail Blazers, that preparation revolves around what to do with the 25th overall pick, which is currently their only selection in the 2019 Draft. The Trail Blazers held four predraft workouts at their facility in Tualatin, a process that wrapped up with their final workout Sunday morning and attended a bevy of agent-run workouts in addition to interviewing players at the Draft Combine over the last month in an effort to supplement years of scouting, both domestically and internationally. While we might not have much of an idea of which direction they're leaning -- Portland's front office keeps their preferences as closely guarded as just about any team in the league -- there's little doubt that they'll be prepared when their selection comes around.
With that in mind, here's the most recent roundup of who the draft watchers have the Trail Blazers selecting with their lone pick. There's not much consensus, and sometimes assumptions about team needs seem to take the place of actual reporting about which players Portland might prefer, but if nothing else, it's a good way to get familiar with some of the names that will likely be on the board come the 25th pick. You can also click here to see the previous mock draft roundup to see how the selections have changed throughout the process.
• Jonathan Givony of ESPN has the Trail Blazers selecting Ty Jerome, a junior guard out of Virginia, with the 25th overall pick...
25. Ty Jerome
Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 194
The Blazers don't have a great deal of backcourt depth and will see two of their main rotation options, Seth Curry and Rodney Hood, hit free agency this summer.
Jerome's tremendous basketball IQ, perimeter shooting ability and competitiveness stand out at this point in the draft. After making a conference finals run, Portland probably will want to add a player who is ready to help right away as opposed to a long-term project.
It's very possible that the Trail Blazers select a guard with the 25th pick, but with as high as the team is on both Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr., if they do take a guard, it'll be because they think he's the best player available, not out of a concern about depth in the backcourt.
• Kyle Boone at CBS Sports has the Trail Blazers selecting 6-7 forward Grant Williams out of Tennessee...
Grant Williams PF
TENNESSEE | JR | 6'7" | 240 LBS
Opinions vary on Williams, and while this may be seen as a reach for Portland, it would be a perfect fit. Williams can run the short roll in the Blazers' offense and give Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum another weapon to roll teams with. His physical presence and improving perimeter skills could help him grow into an even better form of the two-time SEC Player of the Year he was in college.
• Jeremy Woo at Sports Illustrated has the Trail Blazers selecting Florida State center Mfinodu Kabengele...
C | Florida State | Sophomore
Kabengele has been a notable riser over the course of workouts and appears to be sitting pretty safely in the first round. He’ll turn 22 this summer, but he’s big, athletic, shoots with touch and was exceptionally productive on a per-minute basis at Florida State. He’s not much of a passer and is strictly a high-energy big who finishes plays, but there’s plenty of utility in that. Following his medical at the combine, teams seem to feel comfortable about the state of his knees, which had been a concern after he wore bulky braces all season.
The Blazers will be in position to grab the best player available here, and if it’s someone who can help them next season, even better. They have primarily worked out wings for this pick, but given Jusuf Nurkic’s health situation, adding another big who can space the floor and rebound makes sense on some level.
Kabengele averaged 13.2 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from three, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 37 games for the Seminoles last season.
• Sam Vecenie at The Athletic has the Trail Blazers taking freshman guard Kevin Porter Jr. out of USC with the 25th overall pick...
His shiftiness is elite, and his ability to create plays in space is something few players can bring to the table. My bet is that, on draft night, his range is somewhere between No. 13 to No. 26. Cleveland is thought to be a fan. Here, he goes one spot before that to Portland. General manager Neil Olshey is on record as believing that rookies aren’t necessarily able to provide immediate impact to teams that are competing. So he might be willing to wait a bit on the upside of Porter. Additionally, in Portland, being around consummate pros like Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum would be a terrific environment.
Porter Jr. averaged 9.5 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent shooting from three, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 21 games last season with the Trojans.
• The folks at The Ringer also have the Trail Blazers selecting Tennessee forward Grant Williams in thier most recent mock draft...
Forward | Tennessee | Junior
MAIN SELLING POINT.......... Glue-guy skills
STANDING REACH.......... 8'8.5''
Team-first player who runs the show from the post in college but will need to expand his game to the perimeter at the next level.
SHADES OF: P.J. Tucker, Spurs-era Boris Diaw, Treveon Graham
Crafty interior scorer who finishes with either hand and uses deceptive pump fakes to create space; loves to carve out space for his left-handed runner.
Excellent screener who can facilitate on the short roll or pop for 3s; can be a playmaking weapon on switches.
Tennessee runs its offense through him on the post; he loves absorbing contact, can finish over either shoulder, and throws accurate fastballs to cutters and shooters.
Improved spot-up 3-point shooter. He must extend his range, but his touch from the line and midrange is a positive indicator for his projected shooting ability.
Reluctant to shoot 3s, passes up open looks, and dribbles into short midrange pull ups. Does he lack confidence or is he aware of his limitations?
Lacks verticality, so scoring inside against NBA length will require an adjustment.
He doesn’t project as a shot creator because of his average first step and lack of shake as a ball handler.
Tweeners don’t exist in today’s NBA, but athleticism still matters: He might not have the mobility to be a top-shelf defender on switches against guards and quicker wings.
The Ringer has stepped in to fill the void left by the consolidation of other NBA draft website, so be sure to click over and check it out.
• Basketball Insiders have Drew Maresca, Jesse Blancarte, Spencer Davies and Steve Kyler all making picks for their mock draft. Maresca has the Trail Blazers selecting Maryland center Bruno Fernando, Blancarte has them taking Mfiondu Kabengele, Davies is going with Iowa State forward Talen Horton-Tucker (who worked out with the Blazers on Sunday) and Kyler has Portland taking Kentucky forward PJ Washington.
• Kyle Irving at the Sporting News has Portland selecting Stanford wing KZ Okpala with the 25th overall pick...
Okpala's athleticism, strength and size have him floating around this area of the draft. His consistency was a question mark in college but he has the frame and body to compete in the NBA at 6'8, 210 lbs.
He's explosive and a threat in transition and showed significant improvement on his outside jumper in his sophomore year at Stanford.
Okpala is certainly a project but could provide the Blazers with another athletic guard/forward off their bench that will blend in nicely with the rest of their rotation.
Okpala also came through Portland for a workout in the run up to the 2019 Draft.