The 21st annual NBA GM Survey was published this morning on NBA.com, with the Portland Trail Blazers largely omitted from predictions this year. But despite the team’s overall absence from forecasts of success, one player stood out individually. Rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe was listed among General Managers’ picks for biggest steals of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?
T-1. Jalen Duren (13), Detroit – 14%
T-1. Tari Eason (17), Houston – 14%
T-3. A.J. Griffin (16), Atlanta – 10%
T-3. Shaedon Sharpe (7), Portland – 10%
T-5. Jaden Ivey (5), Detroit – 7%
T-5. Keegan Murray (4), Sacramento – 7%
T-5. Jalen Williams (12), Oklahoma City – 7%
» Also receiving votes: MarJon Beauchamp (24), Milwaukee; Malaki Branham (20), San Antonio; Christian Braun (21), Denver; Dyson Daniels (8), New Orleans; Jaden Hardy (37), Dallas; Kenneth Lofton Jr. (undrafted), Memphis; Tyrese Martin (51), Atlanta; Bennedict Mathurin (6), Indiana; Peyton Watson (30), Denver
» Last year: Jalen Suggs – 23%
Sharpe, selected No. 7 overall, is unlikely to receive heavy minutes in Portland’s backcourt in his first season, but is expected to pan out in the long run by NBA decision-makers. If he does indeed turn out to be a steal at No. 7, he would be a franchise altering player.
That is a lot to expect from someone about whom very little is yet known. Sharpe did not play a single game at Kentucky during his sole college season, missed all but four minutes of NBA Summer League due to injury, and shot 0-4 in the Trail Blazers’ preseason opener on Monday. None of these are worthwhile barometers by themselves, but could have added up when measured together.
Still, the faith shown by NBA GM’s is encouraging. Our local “Man of Mystery” could become a non-overnight sensation in time. His individual success would bolster the team’s overall ceiling if he proves to be a steal after all. The tools are there.