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NBA Mock Draft: Blazers Select Pair of SEC Freshmen

The NBA Draft will be here before we know it and the Portland Trail Blazers now have two first-round picks.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is on pause for the moment with this weekend’s All-Star festivities in Salt Lake City, giving an opportune time to look into the future a little bit for this year’s draft.

After trading Josh Hart to the New York Knicks last week, the Blazers hold two first-round picks at No. 11 and No. 19.

No Ceilings has conducted its latest mock draft, granting the Blazers two SEC freshmen: Arkansas guard Anthony Black and South Carolina wing GG Jackson.

Maxwell Baumbach: The Trail Blazers have shown a willingness to surround Damian Lillard with young, high-upside talent as they build for their future. Adding Anthony Black into that mix with Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons would serve to further elevate their ceiling going forward. The 6’7” guard offers defensive versatility, boasting the ability to stay in front of a multitude of players with exceptionally fast hands to rack up steals. Offensively, he’s a smart, modern-day connector who can put the ball on the floor and sling the ball out of a live dribble when attacking. He’ll still make the right read and simple pass, but he’s capable of much more. His jump shot is a major question mark, but if he can get it to stick, he could be a wonderful part of Portland’s young core going forward.

Tyler Rucker: The Portland Trail Blazers are going to find themselves in a position to have two selections in the first round, thanks to a trade with the New York Knicks. That could be a strategic move, as the Trail Blazers could have their eyes set on targeting a couple of “developmental” pieces with one of the selections. Good front offices know how to let the board come to them and that’s just what Portland could see here. South Carolina freshman Gregory “GG” Jackson is one of the youngest prospects in this class. While Jackson has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout the 2022-23 season, it doesn’t take long to see how special the tools are. GG has the raw tools offensively to be a high-upside talent in this class. With Portland already allowing rookie wing Shaedon Sharpe to get on a promising developmental curve, the Trail Blazers look to add another long-term star in Jackson here with the 19th overall selection.

The Blazers’ tight spot in the Western Conference standings creates a number of possibilities as to where that pick eventually will land. But for now, No Ceilings has given us some food for thought.