The 2018 NBA Draft is still several months away, but it is never to early for teams to start planning for the future, including those in the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers are currently slotted to pick 24th in the June 21st draft, and Bleacher Report has put together several options for the team, in a piece looking at possible draft picks for every playoff team. Those options include Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop, Creighton guard Kyhri Thomas and Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV.
Here’s what Jonathan Wasserman has to say about the trio of prospects:
Plan A: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)
Bates-Diop would give the Portland Trail Blazers a needed scorer from the power forward slot, where Al-Farouq Aminu averages 9.4 points on 39.8 percent shooting. The Big Ten Player of the Year works from all over the floor with the ability shoot the three, face up and attack or create shots out of the post.
Plan B: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)
The Blazers can upgrade their 2-guard depth with Thomas, who’s shooting, defense and efficient brand of offense would work well behind CJ McCollum.
Plan B, option 2: Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)
With more size and athleticism, 19-year-old Walker is the higher-upside 2-guard compared to Thomas. He’s also the bigger project, but in Portland, the Blazers could take it slow with Walker. He has a convincing shooting stroke and developing shot-creating skills, but he’ll need some time to become more consistent and sharper off the dribble.
Bates-Diop averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Buckeyes this season. Thomas averaged 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Bluejays, and Walker IV averaged 11.5 points and 2.6 boards for the Hurricanes. All three players have officially declared for the draft, though Thomas has not signed with an agent, leaving open the possibility that he could return to school next season.
Who would you like to see the Blazers consider for their selection? Let us know in the comments!