Three weeks remain until the 2017 NBA Draft. Unless the Portland Trail Blazers make a trade, they possess pick Nos. 15, 20, 26. There is a lot of talent to choose from throughout the first round. Should Portland try to pick up California center Ivan Rabb later on?
- Height: 6’10”
- Weight: 220
- Wingspan: 7’1.5”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: PF/C
- College: University of California
- Age: 20
- Projected draft range: 25-30
- PPG: 14.0 | Per 40: 17.2
- RPG: 10.5 | Per 40: 12.8
- APG: 1.5 | Per 40: 1.9
- BLK: 1.0 | Per 40: 1.2
- STL: 0.7 | Per 40: 0.8
Rabb is light on his feet, good with his hands, and generally knows where to be on the floor, which is great to see from a young big man. He is able to beat opponents down the floor in transition and finish with either hand inside. For the most part, he can be considered ambidextrous with the ball in his hands. Without the ball, he has solid instincts for how and when to retrieve it from the glass. What he lacks in explosive jumping ability or muscle weight, he makes up for in length and positioning. He typifies the player who may not surprise but will not mess up either—a solid value in the late first round. Although he is particularly light, some of his weaknesses can be shed as pounds are gained.
Presently, Rabb is too small to be an effective scorer at the rim in the halfcourt offense, and he lacks the shooting ability to score from the perimeter, which leaves him in a sort of no-man’s-land of inefficient scoring opportunities. He needs to be utilized in the pick-and-roll, where he excels, if he is going to put points on the board. His weight/strength is an issue on defense as well. Despite knowing where to be, he has difficulty holding his ground against stronger opponents, and the aforementioned lack of explosiveness limits his potential as a rim protector.
Rabb’s sophomore season was a surprise in that it existed at all. Many expected him to declare for the draft after a strong freshman campaign in 2015-16. His draft stock took a hit when his efficiency dropped as a sophomore, though increased defensive attention may have played a role, coupled with the absence of surrounding talent. The Golden Bears finished the season 10-8 in the Pac-12 Conference and 21-13 overall.
There are worse things than recording high basketball IQ as a “have” and strength as a “have not.” Rabb is 20 years old and will begin to fill out with proper training. In terms of general utility, he is ahead of most of the players clustered around him on the draft board. That said, it is difficult to say if he will ever develop an outside shot. His jumper almost looks like a two-handed fling because of the way he extends both arms on the follow through. Until he either packs on weight or finds consistency outside (ideally both), he sort of fits in as a plug-and-play option but fits out as a modern big man.
The Trail Blazers could stand to restock their frontcourt shelves and see who sticks behind Jusuf Nurkic—or Noah Vonleh for that matter. The bench brigade did not work out as one would have hoped last season, with Festus Ezeli out for the year (soon to be gone), Meyers Leonard falling short of expectation, and Ed Davis playing through injury until February. Even if selected with pick No. 26, Rabb could claim spot minutes by playing a clean game that makes head coach Terry Stotts’ job easier.