The Portland Trail Blazers are beginning to do some homework on some 2023 NBA Draft prospects.
Holding the fifth-best odds for the No. 1 pick, the Blazers are expected to have the opportunity to take one of the draft’s best players.
Draft Digest publisher Derek Parker believes Arkansas guard Anthony Black could be a fit for the Blazers.
Black one of the better connective pieces and perimeter defenders in the entire class, and even for a win-now Portland team, he offers some win-now upside with his defense and high-IQ play.
At 6-foot-7, he could immediately slot into the starting lineup alongside both Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons, assisting both of them as both a lightning-fast processor and facilitator, and an off-ball scoring threat, making timely cuts. Black offers versatility on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and some future upside as well.
Perhaps most importantly, his fit next to rookie Shaedon Sharpe is an exciting one. With Sharpe’s high-flying play and Black’s pinpoint passing and playmaking, they make an exciting future duo.
It’s tough to imagine Black, a 19-year-old raw prospect, fitting in with the Blazers, who are looking to win even more than they were a year ago.
While Black has a ton of upside, it’s likely that Portland would look to find Black a home where he can develop his game a little more in exchange for a player that can help Damian Lillard and the Blazers win in the short term.
It’s very reminiscent of Shaedon Sharpe’s position a year ago, but after undergoing the experiment of having a raw rookie guard, the Blazers don’t want to go through that experience again. There’s also a potential logjam down the line with Black and Sharpe playing similar positions.
There is potential that they can coexist, but not during the Dame era.