The Portland Trail Blazers hold two potential lottery picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. If NBA standings remained static between now and the end of the season, and if all teams drafted in their organic order, the Blazers would hold the fifth and tenth overall selections.
Portland has plenty of young guards on the roster already. (see also: Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons) They lack depth in the frontcourt. In the latest iteration of his 2024 NBA Mock Draft, Ricky O’Donnell of SBNation has Portland picking up an international forward and a center from Duke with their lottery bounty.
With the fifth overall pick, O’Donnell posits a French forward in the Trail Blazers’ sights:
5. Portland Trail Blazers - Zaccharie Risacher, F, France
Zaccharie Risacher has reminded scouts why he was viewed as a potential top-five pick coming into this draft cycle. After an underwhelming run with France in the U19 World Championships over the summer, the 6’8 forward has had a wonderful start to the season with JL Bourg in the top French pro league, showcasing his sweet shooting stroke and defensive potential. Risacher is shooting 41.4 percent from three-point range on his first 58 attempts, and also making 72.6 percent of his free throws. He doesn’t show a ton of creation potential off the dribble, but he can still attack closeouts and at times finish with some athletic moves to the rim. Risacher looks the part defensively, too, with a solid frame for a pro wing and good instincts as a help defender both on the interior and the perimeter. Scouts will want to see if he has more playmaking potential than he’s shown thus far. If Risacher keeps shooting at a 40 percent clip all year, his athletic tools are good enough to warrant real consideration in the top five.
A seven-footer bolsters the frontcourt at the ten-spot:
10. Portland Trail Blazers (via Warriors) - Kyle Fililpowski, C, Duke
Filipowski was projected as a potential first round pick in last year’s draft but made the decision to return to Duke for his sophomore year. A lottery run isn’t out of the question if he can sustain his All-American level play to start this season. A 7-foot, 250-pound big man, Filipowski is highly skilled as a short roll playmaker, post scorer, and occasional pick-and-pop threat. He’s an excellent decision-maker with the ball in his hands, reading the floor well and finding open shooters and cutters as the hub of Duke’s offense. His shot has been somehow hit-or-miss since he entered college, but going 4-for-4 from three against Pitt and 4-of-5 against Georgia Tech helped bump him up to 41.2 percent on the year. He also only shoots 68.4 percent from the foul line. Filipowski is never going to be an explosive athlete, but he does look a little quicker this year. If a team drafts him this high, the hope will be that he can be a plus passer and shooter for a center while being an adequate system defender if not someone who will clean up mistakes. Given how many teams try to play five-out these days, Filipowski will probably have a lot of fans around the league come draft time.
You can see the whole mock draft, including O’Donnell’s explanation of Serbian guard Nikola Topic as the first overall pick, right here.