The Trail Blazers used their lone draft selection on Wednesday to select Washington State guard CJ Elleby at pick No. 46. Tabbed by most pundits to go undrafted, Elleby’s addition to the Blazers has raised eyebrows in the stream of post-draft analysis.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley gave the Blazers a C- grade. Bleacher Report’s analysis cited concerns over Elleby’s shot mechanics.
After hitting a blistering 41.4 percent of his threes as a freshman, his conversion rate sank to 33.9 percent as a sophomore. It was the opposite at the foul line, where he shot 82.3 percent in 2019-20 but a woeful 66.1 percent the season prior.
There are mechanical issues with his jumper that make you think the inconsistency might be around for the long haul. If he can get those ironed out, though, he might find some minutes as a spark-plug scorer.
CBS Sports NBA contributors Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone settled on a slightly better C+ grade for the Elleby selection. Their analysis centered on Elleby’s lack of polish and his potential as a two-way contract player.
Good size, good college production, but not so great value here for the Trail Blazers. Elleby was outside our final top-75 prospect rankings and a potential two-way candidate, and while there’s a lot to like about his offensive production, there’s still a lot of polish he lacks that Portland will need to develop.
USA Today’s Scott Gleeson, who ranked and graded the moves made by each team, placed the Blazers at No. 24 with a C- grade.
The only major pick was at No. 46 with CJ Elleby of Washington State. They traded away the No. 16 pick, Isaiah Stewart, to Detroit. In exchange, Portland landed Robert Covington from Houston in the three-way deal.
Finally, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie and John Hollinger discussed the Blazers pick without delivering a grade. Vecenie explained that he had Elleby as the No. 85 prospect on his board.
Yeah I never have really gotten what the NBA’s appeal is with Elleby. He doesn’t really finish at the basket, he’s not an elite shooter, and he’s not a particularly good defender. He has shooting upside which is why I ranked him at No. 85, but I think what we’re seeing here is that teams are taking players who are agreeable to their terms only (such as two-way and contracts with long-term team control with only one guaranteed season), as opposed to the best players on the board.
Hollinger then cited the Blazers need for help on the wing when discussing the selection.
I don’t really see it here but if the Blazers were hell-bent on taking a wing the ranks are pretty thin at this point. Elleby shot 33.1% on 2s in Pac-12 games — that’s not a typo — but he rebounds well for a guard.
Elleby, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, recorded 18.4 points per game on 39.6 percent shooting from the field during his final season with the Cougars. You can read Steve Dewald’s first-look profile by clicking here.