A recent batch of NBA Mock Drafts show that experts believe that the Trail Blazers will look to perimeter-centric players once the offseason arrives. With Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins set to bounce back from injuries in the 2020-21 season, Portland’s perceived intentions shouldn’t come as a shock.
Yahoo Sports analyst Krysten Peek has the Blazers selecting Villanova standout Saddiq Bey with the No. 14 pick. Peek explained Bey’s sturdy sophomore season with the Wildcats makes him a safe selection in the middle of the first round.
Villanova could have made a deep run in the NCAA tournament this year and Bey was emerging as the star player for the Wildcats. He shot 45 percent from the three and can guard four positions on the court thanks to his speed and size. Bey declared for the draft with the option of returning to school but will most likely stay due to how unique this draft is and he’s almost a lock as a first-round draft pick.
Bey’s scoring production doubled in his second season at Villanova. Raw scoring totals aside, the 21-year-old forward blossomed into a 45.1 percent three-point shooter as a sophomore, a trait that will catch the eye of talent evaluators from all corners of the league.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill has the Blazers looking at a different forward in the middle of the first round: Florida State’s Devin Vassell. Like Bey, Vassell made the most of an expanded role during his sophomore campaign. Vassell posted 12.7 points per game and proved that he possessed a well-balanced foundation of skills.
CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone has the Blazers looking to the backcourt in the late lottery. Boone has Portland buying low on Cole Anthony’s upside in the NBA.
The inefficiency Cole Anthony had as a lead scorer for UNC last season can in part be attributed to a bad UNC team. But it’s nonetheless a mark on his resume he must answer for. Still, the number of guards who can make shots in an array of ways the way he can should get him looks in the back half of the lottery. The versatility to play either guard spot should really open up his list of suitors.
North Carolina finished the season with a record of 14-19. Anthony averaged 18.5 points per game in 22 appearances, but shot a less-than-ideal 38 percent from the field.