The Trail Blazers’ memorable postseason run might be over, but the the 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey currently has the No. 25 pick in the draft at his disposal and he will look to supplement the Blazers’ roster with a talented prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we look at Villanova forward Eric Paschall.
Eric Paschall -- Villanova
- Height: 6’7.25”
- Weight: 254
- Wingspan: 6’11.75”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: Forward
- Age: 22
- Projected Draft Range: 25-44
- PPG: 16.5 | Per 40: 18.3
- REB: 6.1 | Per 40: 6.8
- AST: 2.1 | Per 40: 2.4
- STL: 0.7 | Per 40: 0.9
- BLK: 0.5 | Per 40: 0.5
- FG%: 44.7
- 3P%: 34.8
- FT%: 74.6
Paschall is a bowling ball of a forward at 6’7” and almost 255 pounds. That size came in handy when creating mismatches offensively. The New York native was a solid scorer for Villanova this season, displaying a quick first step and explosiveness when given space to launch. These traits enabled him to finish 69.2 percent of his shots at the rim, per Hoop-Math.com. Without the ball, he cuts to the basket with purpose and sets bone-crushing screens. Buoyed by his physical nature, Paschall’s defensive versatility in noteworthy. He’s disciplined both on and off the ball and has the speed-to-strength ratio to stymie multiple positions.
A lot of Paschall’s future success depends on whether he can improve his jump shot. Despite a modest 34.8 three-point percentage, he was never a model of consistency at Villanova. As a ball handler, Paschall struggles with his decision making. His aggressive playing style routinely results in un-forced turnovers. His lack of length also poses a potential problem. He’s a tweener with a short wingspan and no real signature skill. In theory, he is a versatile defender, but the jury’s still out on whether or not he can deal with speedy NBA guards. On top of all this, he turns 23 in November, making him one of the oldest players in this year’s class.
Paschall transitioned from a bench contributor to the leading scorer on Villanova for his senior season. As the primary option for a less-impressive Wildcats squad, he averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Paschall was a crucial ingredient to Villanova’s third-straight Big East Championship. He earned first team All-Big East honors after his stellar season.
Paschall looks the part of a role player that most NBA teams are looking for. Team’s looking to add a prospect with a reliable floor can look to Pashall’s muscle-bound physique, defensive versatility and a high motor. He’s earned plenty of kind comparisons, with LeBron James even calling him “Baby Millsap”. With the league becoming more accepting of position-less players, thanks to Draymond Green and PJ Tucker, Paschall will attract suitors. His lack of shooting and ideal size will keep him on the dividing line between the first and second round.
The Blazers’ lack of depth at forward should be ingrained in everyone’s mind by now. Al-Farouq Aminu, Rodney Hood and Jake Layman are all free agents. It’s highly unlikely that all of them come back. Paschall is an interesting prospect given those circumstances.
Paschall’s experience inside Villanova’s high-profile program could help him push for minutes as a rookie. Immediate low-cost contributions aside, Paschall’s age and physical limitations hurt his value at pick No. 25. If the Blazers can secure a second round pick, selecting Paschall becomes more palatable.
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