The Portland Trail Blazers hold the seventh pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, but as the dust settles from last week’s NBA Draft Combine, the growing consensus is Portland won’t be using the selection.
According to a post-combine report from John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, this year’s draft is expected to feature “a lot of trade and player movement.” In the report, Portland’s coveted lottery pick is mentioned as one of the surest bets to be traded — with a familiar name popping up once again as the possible return.
The pick that seems even more certain to be on the move is Portland’s at No. 7, with sources saying the Blazers will push to immediately put a competitive team around Damian Lillard rather than start over. Detroit’s Jerami Grant has been the hot name here, but the Blazers could look at other options.
A Portland-and-Grant partnership has been blazing on the rumor mill since February’s NBA trade deadline. At 6-8, the 28-year-old veteran would fill a positional need at power forward for the Blazers, at the age and tenure in his career to contribute immediately. However, whether Grant is worth such a high lottery pick in value is up for debate. Hollinger and Vecenie didn’t give any insight on the “other options” Portland may be looking at.
If Portland does end up using its lottery pick, Shaedon Sharpe out of the University of Kentucky could still be available for the Blazers to select. The Athletic report provided intel on the mystery prospect from Canada.
Sharpe, 18, declared for the draft early after spending only the spring semester at Kentucky, so game tape on the 6-5 wing is limited. At the NBA Combine, Sharpe didn’t give too much for scouts to look at. He participated in one-on-zero drills put on by his agency that provided some answers, but still left a lot of intrigue.
For a player who few have actually seen at high-level game speed much, the workout didn’t provide any insight into the actual questions to which decision-makers would like some semblance of an answer before potentially selecting him on draft night. It was a prime example of why these pro days can be so frustrating.
This shouldn’t be mistaken for saying that Sharpe performed poorly. Those in attendance said he looked very bouncy, and his in-person length impressed those who were seeing him for the first time. He didn’t burn the net down or anything with his shooting, but hit enough shots off the catch and his own dribble — particularly stepbacks and side-steps — to showcase his long-term potential. But no one is going to be rushing to the podium based on Monday’s workout.
The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23.