The NBA’s Orlando-based restart will feature 22 teams playing an eight-game schedule prior to the start of the postseason—a setup that leaves eight teams on the outside looking in. With those eight non-bubble teams in mind, Steve Dewald imagined who the Trail Blazers would target if a fantasy dispersal draft consisting non-restart players transpired.
Here are the basics for the fantasy dispersal draft:
- The eligible pool for the dispersal draft consists of players that: have not made an All-Star appearance, were (relatively) healthy when the league went on hiatus and come from one of the eight teams not set to participate in the NBA’s upcoming restart.
- Players selected in the dispersal draft would return to their original team after play concludes in Orlando (no investing in rookies with the long-term in mind).
- Would this ever happen? No. Is this another way to look at the type of players the Blazers should target? Perhaps.
Those are the basics for this purely hypothetical dispersal draft. Here is a look, in order, at how Steve would build the Blazers’ board.
Zach LaVine | G | Bulls
I know what you’re thinking: ANOTHER GUARD!?! Before you get too carried away, it is worth noting that LaVine played 67 percent of his minutes at the small forward spot this season (according to Basketball Reference). At 6-foot-6, the Washington native lacks the ideal size to defend premier forwards, but his floor-spacing chops would add a much-needed punch to the middle of the Blazers’ lineup. LaVine connected on 38 percent of 8.1 three-point attempts per game prior to the league’s hiatus in March.
Outside of his experience at small forward, LaVine has the experience to fill in next to Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum in the backcourt.
Andrew Wiggins | G/F | Warriors
It appears that the former No. 1 overall pick found new life in Golden State during his brief 12-game stint with the Warriors. Wiggins has given coaches fits with his suspect shot selection and waning effort on the defensive end, but he did show improvement in key areas alongside an established point guard like Steph Curry. His turnover average dropped from 2.5 per game to 2.1 and his field goal percentage lifted from 44.4 to 45.7 percent once he landed in San Fransisco.
Let’s be real, Wiggins’ place on the board is tied to his position, not his modest improvements. Turns out that the teams that missed out on the Orlando restart lack star power at small forward.
John Collins | PF | Hawks
Back in 2017 the Trail Blazers packaged picks to move up to select a different Collins. Selected nine picks after Zach, John Collins has blossomed into an all-around offensive threat. Now in his third season with the Hawks, Collins posted stellar averages of 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Outside of those numbers, Collins has drastically improved his outside shooting, showing he belongs in the modern-four discussion. This season, Collins upped his three-point attempts per game to 3.6 and is connecting on 40.1 percent of those attempts.
The Blazers are bursting at the seams with big men in Orlando, but Collins’ rebounding and scoring acumen is a step ahead of the other forwards currently at coach Terry Stotts’ disposal.
Malik Beasley | SG | Timberwolves
A midseason trade from Denver to Minnesota opened the window for Beasley to shine in an expanded role. Known for his instant offense off the bench previously, the former Florida State standout has shown he can maintain similar production over longer stretches. In 14 starts with the Timberwolves, Beasley has produced 20.7 points per game and connected on 42.6 percent of his three-point attempts. Outside of his scoring, Beasley rebounds well for a smaller player (5.1 per game) and he limits his mistakes (1.5 turnovers per game).
Like LaVine, Beasley possesses a surprising amount of experience at forward. Back in the 2017-18 season, he played over half of his 583 minutes with the Nuggets at the small forward spot. Off the bench, or alongside the starters, Beasley could fulfill multiple roles for the Blazers.
Otto Porter | F | Bulls
Porter’s 2019-20 season was limited to a 14-game run due to injury. His scoring numbers from that stretch are modest (11.9 per game), but he is a career 40-percent three-point shooter. Outside of Wiggins, Porter is the most natural fit at the small forward position on this list. His veteran experience and ability to make a difference without the ball in his hands makes him a favorable option alongside Portland’s established core.
The Next Three
- Cedi Osman (Cavs) - Not a flashy name, but Osman plays within himself and has deep-postseason experience.
- Miles Bridges (Hornets) - A high-flying 22-year-old guard that provides highlights and athleticism, but his efficiency numbers aren’t the prettiest.
- Christian Wood (Pistons) - Wood took the long way to the NBA, but it appears that he is here to stay. The Blazers have a ton of depth in the post, but Wood can do a bit everything on both ends of the floor.
Agree with Steve’s board? How would you build the Blazers board heading into a fantasy dispersal draft? Tell us in the comments below.