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Early NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Blazers Favor Bigs

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Four national publications project the Trail Blazers to take a big man in the 2019 NBA Draft.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Gonzaga vs Xavier Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft may still be months away, put it’s never too early to look at some of the top prospects. With the college basketball season underway, draft boards are beginning to materialize. It remains to be seen where the Portland Trail Blazers will pick in the draft, but several national publications have taken a crack as to what the team might decide to do come June.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (ESPN+ subscription required) have the Blazers taking Kentucky forward PJ Washington with the 20th pick. Washington, a 6-8 sophomore, is averaging 13.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in his second season with the Wildcats. He averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman.

Brad Rowland of UPROXX has LSU freshman sensation Naz Reid going to Portland with the 23rd pick. Of the 6-10 Reid, who is averaging 12.1 points and 4.3 boards, Rowland writes:

Scouts are all over the place on Reid, with some believing he could be a lottery pick and some projecting a second-round landing spot. We’ll split the difference here, as the Blazers could use someone with his measurables and skill set, and Portland might be able to utilize him in a way other teams (and rosters) couldn’t.

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell has Portland taking Gonzaga junior Killian Tillie with the 27th pick. Tillie played with Zach Collins during his lone year with the Bulldogs (they made it to the national title game that year). Here’s the scoop on the French native, per O’Donnell:

Tillie is out until January for Gonzaga after ankle surgery. Before the injury, he was thought to be the best player on one of the best teams in the country. He’s a hard-working 6’9 forward with a great feel for the game on both ends while developing into a knockdown shooter in the front court.

Finally, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has the Blazers selecting Vanderbilt freshman Simi Shittu, who originally hails from London. Woo writes of the big man:

Low-usage, high-IQ bigs like Shittu are quality commodities with the way many teams play these days. He won’t require tons of post-up touches, has the skill to face up, potential to hit jumpers, and natural passing ability that makes sense as a supporting piece. He’s still getting back to full strength after an ACL tear, but has been productive nonetheless for Vanderbilt. Shittu’s mobility and willingness to defend and do the dirty work make him a solid, versatile prospect. His strengths would fit well in Portland.

Do any of these prospects strike your fancy? Who else have you been watching? Let us know below!