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NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Blazers Seek Reinforcements

A look at the Blazers’ options through the eyes of NBA Draft analysts.

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NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers are in the final third of the 2019-20 season and they could be headed for the NBA Draft lottery if the results on the court don’t improve. With that in mind, here is a look at the latest batch of mock drafts.

ESPN’s Jason Givony has the Blazers looking to Washington forward Jaden McDaniels with the No. 15 pick. McDaniels, a 6-foot-9 freshman, is averaging 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. It is clear that he has the talent and size to play multiple positions at the next level, but he must improve his on-court discipline. Currently, McDaniels’ per 40 foul rate sits at a less-than-ideal 4.4 fouls.

Forbes contributor Tommy Beer has the Blazers selecting Memphis freshman Precious Achiuwa at No. 14. Beer pointed to Achiuwa’s production during James Wiseman’s absence in his explanation of the pick.

Achiuwa has become a focal point of the Tigers attack since James Wiseman left the program, and the results have been mixed. For instance, in a loss to South Florida last Saturday, he shot just 3-of-10 from the floor, finishing with six points and three boards. However, he’s shown flashes of absolute brilliance. Five days after the disappointing showing vs. South Florida, Achiuwa exploded for 22 points and 17 boards vs. Cincinnati.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie projects that the Blazers will continue the trend of selecting the best player available. Regardless of a somewhat clunky fit, Vecenie has French guard Theo Maledon landing in Portland. The French youngster has thrived in France’s top professional league over the past two years. Vecenie detailed Maledon’s versatility in The Athletic’s latest mock draft.

Maledon has come along of late, finally getting over a shoulder injury that nagged him earlier in the season. He hasn’t been awesome in February so far, but he had double-digit points to close four games in January and is starting to knock down shots again. A wiry 6-foot-4 combo guard, Maledon has good speed and quick burst laterally. He also has good length that should allow him to guard multiple positions on defense. The fact that he’s carved out a role for a solid Euroleague team is a legitimately impressive feat at 18 years old, especially having dealt with some adversity due to injury this year. I’d bet on him closing the year strong and ending up getting drafted in this range even if the start wasn’t exactly what was hoped for.

The Blazers record currently sits at 25-32. The 2020 NBA Draft is set to unfold on June 25.