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Potential Blazers Targets And Their Weak Spots

The Blazers could draft Johnny Davis and Jalen Duren. What red flags do they have?

AAC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals - UCF v Memphis Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

As March Madness takes over the timeline, it’s time to evaluate NBA draft prospects, and the Portland Trail Blazers are projected to take Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and Jalen Duren of Memphis per Jonathan Wassermann’s mock draft for Bleacher Report. Accordingly, Wassermann has also provided a look at the potential weak spots of these players.

For Jalen Duren, the caution is that he struggles to perform in the post.

Teams considering drafting Jalen Duren will be drawn to the finishing and rim protection that his 6’11”, 250-pound frame, 7’5” wingspan and leaping help provide. But if the plan is to build with him as a starting center, his team will have to live with a big who doesn’t operate far from the key.

At this stage, he isn’t a sharp-enough post scorer to feature one-on-one. And he won’t pose a threat to put the ball down or shoot anytime soon based on where his handle (3.6 turnovers per 40 minutes) and touch (62.0 percent FT) currently stand.

Rim-running, finishing centers like Clint Capela can still be valuable. But Duren’s team will need a specific supporting cast with which to surround him. And Duren will need to be a star defender and plus rebounder to offset some of his offensive limitations for a 30-minute player.

For Davis, it’s that he struggles from beyond the arc.

Red flags: Creating separation for a limited three-point shooter

Entering the NCAA tournament off a 3-of-19 effort against Michigan State, Johnny Davis has triggered some red flags over his ability to shake free from defenders and shoot from distance.

Averaging just 3.6 three-point attempts (31.7 percent) in 34.0 minutes, he’s clearly not as comfortable from behind the arc yet, making it even more important that he can create space for himself in the high-traffic areas he prefers.

He’s taken a whopping 90 jumpers inside 17 feet, making just 31.1 percent of them. On a promising note, he’s 23-of-49 on long twos. But the worry with Davis, who isn’t shifty off the dribble or explosive off two feet, is that he relies heavily on physicality and contested shot-making in the mid-range.

Given his shot-selection preferences, difficulty against length and shortcomings as a three-point shooter, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were inefficient from the field during his first few NBA seasons.

You can read the round-up of potential red flags here.