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Trail Blazers Workout Roundup: Five First Round Picks So Far

The Trail Blazers front office has been putting in work with less than two weeks to go before the 2022 NBA Draft.

Under the direction of General Manager Joe Cronin, who will lead the front office at the draft after being involved with the organization’s picks for the past 15 years, the Trail Blazers have been furiously preparing for months to make this year’s selections with the hope of coming away with one or more players (be that through the draft or a trade on draft night) who could eventually help the team achieve their ultimate goal of winning a championship. There are only so many ways to acquire high-level talent in the NBA, and the draft is one of the better options, particularly for a team like the Trail Blazers.

Any team that is serious about scouting will already have a pretty good sense of who a player is before he declares for the draft, but one of the best ways to fill in any gaps that still might exist is by getting players in for pre-draft workouts. And after years of having somewhat of a difficult time getting players into their own building due to owning either late first-round picks or no first at all, the Trail Blazers, armed with the seventh overall pick this year, have seemingly had no issue getting players expected to be selected in the Top 15 in for workouts, either individually or in a group. While it’s not at all uncommon for teams to end up drafting players they didn’t host in person, the Trail Blazers throughout the years have tended to select players they’ve also put through workouts in Tualatin.

So far, the Trail Blazers have hosted five players -- Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin, Jalen Duren, AJ Griffin and Tari Eason -- who are all but certain to be taken in the first half of the first round. They’re also expected to hold additional workouts this week before ending their preparations prior to making their picks when they’re on the clock.

So before the Trail Blazers start another round of workouts, let’s look at the first-rounders who have already come through Portland...

MAY 31: Dyson Daniels, Guard, G League Ignite

Full Name: Dyson James DanielsBirthdate: March 17, 2003 (Bendigo, Australia)Team: NBA G League IgnitePosition: GuardHeight/Weight: 6-8/199High School: NBA Global Academy (Canberra, Australia)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS• Averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists for Australia at the 2021 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.• Participated in the Rising Stars competition during NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland.• Signed with NBA G League Ignite from the NBA Global Academy, the league’s elite youth development program in Canberra, Australia.• Has a chance to become the second NBA Global Academy graduate selected in the NBA Draft, joining fellow Australian native Josh Giddey.

2021-22 SEASON• Averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.0 steals for NBA G League Ignite.• Led the team in both assists and steals and finished second in rebounding.• Ignite schedule included 14 NBA G League Showcase Cup games and 13 Ignite Tour games, all against NBA G League opponents.• Posted 21 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and eight assists at Stockton (March 6).• Scored a season-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals vs. Salt Lake City (Dec. 13).

STRENGTHS• Versatile wing with great size and a mature game.• Multi-position defender with active hands and good instincts.• Willing passer; has good vision and keeps the ball moving.• Shows potential as a spot-up shooter.

WORKOUT IN PORTLAND“I think my playmaking, off the bounce making plays, my defense, bringing the intensity, bringing the energy. I’ve got some things to improve on but I’ve come a long way... I’m happy. I could have shot a little bit better but I’m happy with how I defended, how I played with the ball in my hands. Definitely happy... I just want to find the right fit for me, really. Whether that be Top 5, whether that be Top 20, I just want to find the right fit, a team that is going to want me, a team that’s going to play me, a team that I can contribute to, whatever team that may be. I just want to find the right fit for me, just looking around right now. -- Dyson Daniels after his workout in Portland

JUNE 5: Bennedict Mathurin, Guard, Arizona

Full Name: Bennedict Richard Felder MathurinBirthdate: June 19, 2002 (Montreal)College: ArizonaPosition/Class: Guard/SophomoreHeight/Weight: 6-6/210High School: NBA Academy Latin America (Mexico City)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS• 2021-22 consensus All-America Second Team selection.• One of 10 semifinalists for the 2021-22 Naismith Trophy and one of 15 candidates for the Wooden Award.• 2021-22 Pac-12 Player of the Year.• Attended the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City for two years prior to Arizona.• Named an All-Star at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during NBA All-Star 2020 in Chicago.

2021-22 SEASON (Sophomore)• Finished second in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.7 ppg).• Voted Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player.• Ranked second in the Pac-12 in both free throws made (136) and attempted (178).• Selected USABWA and NCAA.com National Player of the Week (December 12) after scoring a season-high 30 points in a win at Illinois (December 11).• Tied his season high with 30 points in a victory over TCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament (March 20), making the overtime-forcing three and scoring six points in the extra session.• Helped Wildcats to 33 wins, tied for the third most in school history.

STRENGTHS• Athletic wing with a diverse offensive game.• Confident shooter with terrific mechanics.• Explosive in transition and finishes through contact.• Continues to improve as a ball handler and passer.

JUNE 6: Jalen Duren, Center, Memphis

Full Name: Jalen Anthony DurenBirthdate: Nov. 18, 2003 (Philadelphia)College: MemphisPosition/Class: Center/FreshmanHeight/Weight: 6-10/250High School: Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS• 2021-22 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.• 2021-22 All-AAC First Team and All-Freshman Team selection.• Rated the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 high school class by Rivals before reclassifying to the 2021 class and beginning his NCAA career a year early.• Helped USA Basketball win the gold medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

2021-22 SEASON (Freshman)• Led the AAC in both rebounds (8.1 rpg) and blocks (2.1 bpg).• Averaged a team-high 12.0 points on 59.7% shooting from the field.• His 61 blocks rank third on the school’s single-season chart.• 2022 All-AAC Tournament Team pick after setting a tournament record with 37 rebounds in three games.• Had 21 points and 20 rebounds against UCF in the quarterfinals of the AAC Tournament (March 11).• Finished with 22 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks vs. Western Kentucky in his fourth collegiate game (Nov. 19).• Six-time AAC Freshman of the Week choice.

STRENGTHS• Outstanding physical profile for a modern big man.• Long, powerful and quick off the floor.• Elite rim protector and aggressive finisher around the basket.• Shows flashes of creativity as a passer.

WORKOUT IN PORTLAND“Got a group of young guys, they dealt with some injuries last year, but got a great team overall. I feel like once they get all their guys back, get healthy, get everybody back in the gym, they’re going to make a big splash in the NBA... I wouldn’t have made this jump if I didn’t feel like I was ready mentally, physically or skill-wise. I mean, where I’m at, I love the challenge, that’s why I decided to go to college early. It was a great challenge, it helped me develop. Where my mental is at now, understand that I’m not trying to come in and take over, all that comes with growth, comes with time, comes with understanding how to get to the next level and develop on it first before I can make my huge run. I sat down with my family, my circle and I definitely feel like this is the right move for me.”

JUNE 9: AJ Griffin, Forward, Duke

Full Name: Adrian Darnell Griffin Jr.Birthdate: Aug. 25, 2003 (Dallas)College: DukePosition/Class: Forward/FreshmanHeight/Weight: 6-6/222High School: Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS• 2021-22 All-ACC Honorable Mention and ACC All-Freshman Team selection.• Helped Duke earn the ACC regular-season title and reach the Final Four.• Led the Blue Devils in three-point field goal percentage (44.7) and three-pointers made (71).• Rated by ESPN as the No. 9 prospect in the 2021 high school class

2021-22 SEASON (Freshman)• Averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.0 minutes in 39 games (25 starts).• Raised his scoring during the conference schedule to rank second on the team (12.6 ppg).• Two-time ACC Freshman of the Week.• Scored a career-high 27 points in a road win against UNC (Feb. 5).• Shot 5-of-5 from three-point range at Louisville (Jan. 29), the most threes without a miss by a freshman in Duke history.• Made a career-high six three-pointers at Syracuse (Feb. 26).• Named CBS/USBWA National Freshman of the Week (March 1).• Committed only 25 turnovers.

STRENGTHS• Impressive physical profile for an NBA wing.• Strong frame with terrific length; plays bigger than his height.• Knockdown shooter from distance and mid-range.• Versatile and impactful defender.

WORKOUT IN PORTLAND“I think it’s like a mixture of pretty much everything. We did shooting in the beginning, started off and finish, but as the workout goes on it’s more conditioning, too. You pretty much do everything, a lot of defense, offense, making the reads, just the stuff you’ll see in a normal game... I think there is the expectation of you should be pretty good or at least make it to the NBA if your father or anyone is in the NBA. I feel like it’s still the same. You still have to put in the work, you’ve still got to learn, still got to do everything else that everyone does. I just feel like you get an advantage of the wisdom and knowledge but you’ve still got to learn how to do it on your own, too.”

JUNE 10: Tari Eason, Forward, LSU

Full Name: Tari Jordan EasonBirthdate: May 10, 2001 (Portsmouth, Va.)College: LSUPosition/Class: Forward/SophomoreHeight/Weight: 6-8/216High School: Garfield (Seattle)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS• First player in SEC history named Sixth Man of the Year and All-SEC First Team (2021-22).• 2021-22 AP All-America Honorable Mention pick.• 2021-22 Karl Malone Power Forward Award Top 10 Watch List.• One of 10 semifinalists for 2021-22 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award

2021-22 SEASON (Sophomore)• Averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.94 steals and 1.09 blocks in 24.4 minutes.• Ranked sixth in the SEC in scoring, ninth in rebounds and blocks and tied for fifth in steals.• Finished fourth in the SEC in field goal percentage (52.1) and sixth in free throw percentage (80.3).• Came off the bench in all but four games.• Recorded 12 games of 20 or more points, with a career-high 26 points at Alabama (Jan. 19).• Posted seven double-doubles and four games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.• Had a career-high five steals against Ohio (Dec. 1) and Vanderbilt (Feb. 5).

STRENGTHS• All-purpose forward with excellent strength and athleticism.• Intense competitor who fills up the box score.• Will rebound and push the ball in transition.• Incredibly active defender with great instincts.

WORKOUT IN PORTLAND“You can tell what they’re trying to look at and what they’re trying to get to depending on what type of reads they want you to come off of and do... My coach, my high school coach, played here. I’ve been down here several times for AAU tournaments, I’ve got people and family around this area. Just friends, the community around here, it’s really special. I went to high school here -- not here but in the northwest -- so I have some roots down here. It would be special to come back.”