The Portland Trail Blazers will select No. 24 in the 2018 NBA Draft, hoping to strike gold once again. Portland has areas to improve upon, like beefing up the wing rotation or getting more defense in the backcourt, and their draft pick will likely take this in mind. Let’s see who draft experts around the basketball community have going to the Blazers at pick 24 after our first Mock Draft Roundup.
Gary Parrish, CBS Sports: Bruce Brown Jr. (SG, Miami)
A lot of people projected Brown to have a breakout season this season. But it didn’t really happen considering he played more minutes and took more shots but recorded a worse percentage from both inside and outside of the arc. His free-throw percentage was also down. And he missed Miami’s final 12 games with a broken foot. So it wasn’t a great year. But, that said, the 6-3 guard remains worthy of a first-round flyer because Brown projects as the type of tough defender NBA franchises need on the perimeter.
Sean Deveney, Sporting News: Moritz Wagner (PF/C, Michigan)
Wagner can stretch the floor as a sweet-shooting big man, a nice complement to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the backcourt. Wagner developed a bit as a guy who can put the ball on the floor and play with his back to the basket, but he is not much of an athlete and could be a liability defensively.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated: Dzanan Musa (SF, KK Cedevita)
Musa is expected to play at the NBA’s Global Camp in Treviso in early June, which will give him a major platform to stake a claim to first-round territory. He’s viewed as the second-best international prospect behind Luka Doncic, and is known as an intense competitor and streaky but talented scorer. Musa prefers to play with the ball in his hands and has some athletic shortcomings, which likely means he’ll have to adjust to a new role in order to succeed in the NBA, but his talent is certainly there, and coupled with his size on the wing and youth, he’ll become someone’s long-term investment. He needs to keep getting stronger and show he can involve others on a consistent basis. Portland is cap-strapped and could opt to keep him overseas another year.
Jon Krawczynski, The Athletic (subscription required): Bruce Brown Jr.
When you get down this far in the draft, you have to look at the best player available and Brown could fit that mold. He will bring a toughness and, at 6-foot-5, some much-needed size to the Blazers’ backcourt. He averaged more than seven rebounds per game for the Hurricanes last season.