The Trail Blazers are set to the enter the 2020 NBA Draft with two selections: one in the first round and another in the second round. According to the latest group of mock drafts, the Blazers are likely to address the forward position.
Rookie Wire’s Bryan Kalbrosky has Portland landing Florida State youngster Patrick Williams with the No. 14 pick. Williams, an 18-year-old versatile forward, averaged 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a freshman. Kalbrosky detailed Williams’ promising upside when explaining his fit with the Blazers.
The Trail Blazers have a good thing going when Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are in stride. Their frontcourt also has a ton of depth when it is fully healthy. But the problem in Portland has been lack of a bona fide three or four to fill out the wing positions. Enter: ACC Sixth Man of the Year Patrick Williams. He is going to be one of the youngest prospects in the draft, but when it is all said and done, he could end up as the best overall player. Williams has been more than capable as a shooter, rebounder and defender. But as one of the youngest athletes in this draft class, he may be a gem hiding in plain sight.
CBS Sports contributors Colin Ward-Henninger and Kyle Boone took a broader look at Portland’s perceived needs. Unsurprisingly, they predicted that the Blazers could look at a trio of forwards at the end of the lottery. Ward-Henninger and Boone listed Saddiq Bey, Devin Vassell and Aaron Nesmith as intriguing options. Of that group, they explained that Bey’s NBA-ready skillset is an obvious fit.
Villanova wing Saddiq Bey is the player you’d create in a quest to find a perfect fit in Portland. Not only does he satisfy the need for an NBA-ready wing who can contribute to a dreadful defense, but the 6-foot-8 prospect shot 45.1% from 3 as a sophomore last season, averaging 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while rating out in the 99th percentile in spot-up situations, per Synergy. He doesn’t need the ball to make a defined impact.
Sports Illustrated contributor Jeremy Woo broke from the other mock drafts with a selection that fit with Portland’s penchant for unearthing upside regardless of position. Woo has the Blazers landing 19-year-old guard RJ Hampton in the first round. Hampton averaged 8.8 points and 2.4 assists per game in Australia’s NBL this year.
Hampton has been a frustrating player to evaluate for a lot of scouts, and it’s hard to argue that going to Australia really helped his stock. His play on whole was below-average, which was probably to be expected given he reclassified, and that this would have been his senior year of high school. Hampton does have some things you can’t teach in terms of size, smoothness and quickness off the dribble, and he was a well-regarded high school prospect known for scoring. He can defend and should fit physically in the NBA as he matures. But it’s also tough to watch his film and walk away encouraged about his readiness for the league. This wouldn’t be a need pick for Portland, but they’ve taken more of a stockpiling approach in recent drafts, and Hampton has appeal here as a project of sorts.
The 2020 NBA Draft is currently scheduled for June 25.