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Trail Blazers Take Miller, Howard in Annual SBNation Mock Draft

Portland snags a pair of talented wings with their 2023 picks.

San Diego State v Alabama Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have selected Brandon Miller and Jett Howard in the annual SBNation Mock Draft. The mock draft is conducted by site experts from SBNation’s NBA sites, representing their team’s presumed aims during the upcoming draft.

The Trail Blazers selected Miller, a 6’9 forward from Alabama, third overall. Miller’s co-stars—generational talent Victor Wembanyama and blossoming point guard Scoot Henderson—went first and second to the San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets.

This points out Portland’s privilege, and conundrum, in the draft. Three players rise above the rest, but the Blazers won’t be able to choose which one they get. Unless they’ve made a pre-draft determination that one of the remaining candidates has an outstanding career ahead, they’ll be forced to clean up the trio of Wemby, Scoot, and Miller.

Naturally, that’s a happy problem to have. Miller’s game has been compared to veteran All-Star Paul George, a player who has long been regarded as a near-perfect fit for Portland’s needs. Unspoken amid the hype: Miller is also the most valuable player in potential trades after Wembanyama and Henderson. Even if Portland didn’t plan to keep him long-term, they’d take him to exchange with any of a dozen-plus teams who would love to have him.

You can read our draft profile of Brandon Miller here. The abbreviated explanation of the pick for the mock draft reads so:

[The Blazers] won’t be disappointed with Brandon Miller’s potential. Size, wingspan, and defensive ability, plus the potential of a 3-point shot? Sold.

Miller lacks shot creation and playmaking ability, but the Blazers already have those in spades. They need forwards and they need defense. Miller should fit the bill. Off-court issues put an asterisk on this selection, but Portland will depend on Damian Lillard and the culture club to acclimate Miller properly. Hopefully it works, but either way, Miller has to be the choice.

Portland also has the 23rd pick in the 2023 NBA draft. They’re rumored to be shopping that asset as assiduously as the 3rd pick, but for purposes of the exercise, all selections are retained by their respective owners.

With Pick 23, we chose Jett Howard, 6’8 guard out of Michigan. Howard averaged 14.2 points and 2.0 assists, shooting 41.4% from the floor and 36.8% from the three-point arc in 31.7 minutes per game as a freshman this year. His height and shooting ability recommend him at this level. He’s also the son of former NBA (and Trail Blazers) forward Juwan Howard.

Check out the rest of the SBNation Mock Draft and feel free to debate the picks in the comment section below this post!

Thanks to Blazer’s Edge draft guru Steve Dewald for his assistance with our picks and draft coverage this year.