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. Regardless of Portland’s lack of a pick in the second round, Olshey has shown a willingness to negotiate his way back into the selection process. Today we look at Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield.
- Height: 6’5.25”
- Weight: 240
- Wingspan: 6’9.75”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: SG-PF
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 33-48
- PTS: 16.5 | Per 40: 20.8
- REB: 6.1 | Per 40: 7.7
- AST: 2.0 | Per 40: 2.6
- FG%: 47.4
- 3P%: 41.8
- FT%: 69.8
Schofield’s muscular 240-pound frame jumps off the screen immediately when reviewing his film. On offense, Schofield uses his bulk to post up opponents when the situation calls for it. Once on the block, he blends face-up and traditional moves to maintain his effectiveness. On the perimeter, Schofield has blossomed into a capable catch-and-shoot operator. Armed with a compact and repeatable shot, the Illinois native provides valuable floor spacing. Schofield is versatile on both ends of the floor and supplies crushing screens for his teammates in multiple areas. After establishing himself with a few early picks, he has shown the ability to quickly slip out for wide-open three-point attempts. In transition, Schofield routinely brought the house down with emphatic dunks.
Defensively, Schofield has the awareness to funnel perimeter players into unfavorable situations. Against post players, his sturdy anchor stymies opponents looking to get to the rim. Outside of his physical gifts, Schofield has established himself as a tireless worker and fearless leader. He has continually improved throughout his stint in Knoxville.
At the next level, Schofield’s position-less style could encounter problems. Outside of short bursts, his average lateral quickness could limit him to guarding forwards. His bulk is an asset in the post, but lanky face-up big men can shoot over the top of him.
Physical concerns aside, Schofield operated in a fairly refined role on offense. Ball handling duties were delegated to Jordan Bone and Grant Williams carried the load as a secondary facilitator. Schofield was used as an occasional screener and spot-up shooter for long stretches of the Volunteers’ half-court offense. Outside of his reduced role, Schofield had a tendency to stop the ball once he received it. It was far from egregious, but it was noticeable. As a result of all those factors, the majority of Schofield’s counting stats are modest.
Schofield’s senior season captured the spotlight with a stellar 30-point performance in a victory over Gonzaga (the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 at the time). After that contest, he continued to be a model of consistency by reaching double-digit scoring totals in all but one of the Volunteers’ remaining games. Alongside Williams in the frontcourt, Schofield helped lead Tennessee to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Due to his heroics on the court, he earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team.
Schofield’s established floor blends with his modest draft projection to make him an attractive option for teams owning selections just outside of the first round. Given his size, he should adapt to facing NBA-level athletes on a nightly basis. His outside shooting carves out a niche for him in nearly every offensive scheme and his potential as a switchable defender paves a similar path on the other end. Most of all, Schofield is a model teammate and leader. He transformed his body and playing style in his four-year stint at Tennessee.
In all likelihood, the Trail Blazers will enter draft night searching for options at forward. Schofield’s favorable size and three-point shooting ability should place him on Portland’s radar. His upside doesn’t exactly align with Olshey’s tendency to swing big outside of the lottery, but his experience at multiple positions could unlock untapped potential in the right situation. Schofield’s ability to create space for others and connect on his own shots from the perimeter are a natural fit inside coach Terry Stotts’ offense. There are other players with higher ceilings, but Schofield’s lunch-pail attitude could increase his appeal to a Blazers’ organization that has placed an emphasis on effort.
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