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Hollinger Tabs Top 7 Players in 2022 NBA Draft

An NBA guru offers hope to the Blazers, who will pick 7th.

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2021 NBA Draft Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers will select 7th in the 2022 NBA Draft. That’s not as good of a position as they were hoping for heading into last night’s lottery drawing, but it’s still not a terrible spot. It’s better than 23 other teams get in the first round, anyway.

Today John Hollinger of The Athletic, a tenured NBA guru, indirectly brought hope to fans who desire the Blazers to build in meaningful fashion via their draft pick. Running down the best players in the draft, Hollinger suggests that exactly seven stand head and shoulders above the rest. The number conveniently matches the selection the Blazers hold, indicating that no matter what, they should get a quality player.

Hollinger’s article running down the first 20 picks requires a subscription to read, but a teaser on Twitter reveals the Top 7, divided into three tiers.

Tier I is titled, “Two big fish”. It consists of two power forwards, Jabari Smith Jr. from Auburn and Duke’s Paolo Blanchero. Unless something unexpected happens, neither of those players will be left on the board when Portland selects.

Hollinger’s second tier is named, “High ceilings, speculative”. Shooting guard Jaden Ivey of Purdue and center Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga fall into this category.

The third tier, “Reliably solid wings”, encompasses a trio of players: Bennedict Mathurin from Arizona, Shaedon Sharpe of the University of Kentucky, and Iowa’s Keegan Murray.

At minimum, the Blazers will have the opportunity to select one of these seven candidates, whichever slips through the six teams picking ahead of them.