The Portland Trail Blazers have hired former DraftExpress guru and current ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz as Assistant General Manager. Schmitz will serve alongside newly-named General Manager Joe Cronin, who was appointed the team’s permanent GM in early May. Schmitz has long been known as a distinguished media expert on NBA Draft prospects.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news on Twitter:
ESPN’s NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz is finalizing a deal to become an assistant GM with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Schmitz will play a significant role with new GM Joe Cronin in leading the Blazers’ domestic and international scouting departments.
Schmitz is not expected to join the team until after next month’s NBA Draft.
Schmitz is expected to remain with ESPN through the June 23 NBA Draft, and formally begin his duties with Portland in July. The Blazers have the seventh overall pick in 2022 Draft.
Schmitz’s soon-to-be former colleagues are weighing in positively about the hire:
Bobby Marks of ESPN chimes in:
Zach Lowe of ESPN remarks:
Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report adds:
The vibes turnaround in all parts of the Blazers organization since...roughly early December has been astronomical.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) May 27, 2022
The previous GM would have never made a hire like this because he couldn't deal with having anyone in the organization who would challenge his authority or knowledge on anything.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) May 27, 2022
Schmitz is not the first media personality to be tapped to help lead an NBA franchise. John Hollinger served as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2012-2019. David Kahn started his career as a sports journalist for the Los Angeles Times and The Oregonian before moving into front office positions with the Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves. Both Kahn and Hollinger passed through Portland on their way to lead executive roles.
Here is Schmitz’s official biography from the ESPN Press Room:
Mike Schmitz is an ESPN NBA Draft Analyst. and a contributor to DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.
Schmitz discovers and analyzes top NBA prospects both stateside and abroad, spending 2-3 months per year overseas in both Europe and Africa in search of the next wave of NBA stars. He has traveled to several European countries, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Australia, and New Zealand to evaluate prospects. Schmitz regularly appears on multiple ESPN platforms including SVP, SportsCenter, Get Up!, ESPN’s NBA Draft Combine broadcast, ESPN’s NBA Draft broadcast and more, while also breaking down top prospects in ESPN.com features.
Schmitz covers most FIBA youth events in Europe, conducting interviews with prospects anywhere from the U16 level to the U20 level. He currently serves as an assistant coach for the Uganda National Team in Africa, traveling to Uganda and Nigeria with the national team to coach in FIBA tournaments. Schmitz is working to help build Uganda’s youth basketball stateside.
Prior to joining ESPN, Schmitz worked as an NBA Draft Analyst for Yahoo!’s The Vertical, Video Coordinator for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA G-League (2012-2013) and a writer/video analyst for ValleyofTheSuns.com covering the Phoenix Suns.
The Trail Blazers currently own the 7th, 36th, and 57th picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.