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Four “Sleeper” Prospects for the Blazers

In our final draft profile installment, Steve Dewald details four players that could capture the Blazers’ interest in the second round of Wednesday’s draft.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers’ 2019-20 season is firmly in the rearview mirror and the 2020 NBA Draft arrives on Wednesday. After completing a trade for Robert Covington, the Blazers are without a first-round selection. Portland currently owns the No. 46 pick in the second round.

Today’s post is an abbreviated look at four intriguing late-round prospects that could land on the Blazers’ radar if Jay Scrubb is not available when Portland is on the clock.

Jordan Nwora | F | Louisville

HT: 6’8” | WT: 225 | WS: 6’10.5” | Age: 22

PTS: 18.0 | REB: 7.7 | FG%: 44.0 | 3P%: 40.2

Jordan Nwora is a bonafide floor spacer with an impressive body of work to back up that title. In his three-year career with the Cardinals, Nwora posted a career three-point percentage of 39.4 percent. In his final season with Louisville, he surpassed the 40-percent threshold from distance while attempting 6.1 three-pointers per game. Nwora’s most attractive attribute at the next level is his efficiency in catch-and-shoot situations. According to Synergy, he generated 1.33 points per catch-and-shoot chance, placing him in the 94th percentile of that play type.

Outside of his favorable shooting profile, Nwora’s lack of top-end athleticism has pushed him down draft boards. His ceiling might not jump out to potential suitors, but his shooting accuracy should allow him to carve out a role in the NBA.

Kylor Kelley | C | Oregon State

HT: 7’0” | WT: 228 | WS: 7’4” | Age: 23

PTS: 11.1 | REB: 5.3 | BLK: 3.5 | FG%: 44.0

Kelley, an Oregon native, was a block machine at Oregon State. Don’t be fooled by his frame, Kelley’s fluid footwork and ability to cover ground form the foundation for his shot-blocking exploits. Once he is in position, he times his rejections perfectly and does a superb job of avoiding foul trouble in the process. Kelley earned Pac-12 All-Defense honors in both his seasons in Corvallis and finished his career as Oregon State’s all-time blocks leader.

That said, Kelley must continue to develop his offensive game. Following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, it appears that the 7-footer has invested in polishing his face-up game. If his shot develops, Kelley could be an absolute steal.

Isaiah Joe | SG | Arkansas

HT: 6’5” | WT: 180 | Age: 21

PTS: 16.9 | REB: 4.1 | 3P%: 34.2 | FG%: 36.7

In an era dominated by score-first guards, Joe should attract suitors in the market for a prospect that fits that mold. His numbers from his sophomore season are far from ideal, but that was more of a symptom of him carrying the entire Arkansas offense for long stretches. In a reduced role as a freshman, Joe connected on a solid 41.4 percent of his three-point attempts. Inside the arc, he is solid pull-up shooter and is crafty around the rim.

Under slightly different circumstances, Joe would have been a first-round lock. That could still be the case if his medical evaluations yielded positive results in the pre-draft process. Joe’s 2019-20 season was cut short after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Efficiency and injury flags aside, the 21-year-old guard possesses a moldable set of modern guard skills.

Leandro Bolmaro | SF | FC Barcelona

HT: 6’7” | WT: 185 | WS: 6’8” | Age: 20

PTS: 3.9 | AST: 2.0 | FG%: 25.0 | FT%: 95.5

Don’t let Bolmaro’s placement on draft boards fool you, he is one of the most skilled offensive players in the entire class. Buoyed by his tight handle and superb court vision, Bolmaro is a constant threat on the offensive end. He can finish beneath the rim with either hand and he finds open teammates when defenders collapse on him. Armed with those two traits, Bolmaro is on a short-list of NBA-ready pick-and-roll operators.

Bolmaro’s shooting percentages were not pretty, to say the least, but he was competing in Spain’s Liga ACB. On the plus side, Bolmaro’s stellar free throw percentage suggests that his overall shooting numbers will rise over time.

Outside of the four players mentioned here, don’t forget to check out our other full profiles on prospects projected to land in the second round.

Merry Draft Night Eve from our team at Blazer’s Edge!