The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery was held Tuesday at league headquarters in Secaucus, NJ, which resulted in the Boston Celtics winning the No. 1 overall pick despite finishing the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference (thanks Brooklyn!). The Lakers avoided a doomsday scenario to get the No. 2 overall pick, while Philadelphia’s extended tankathon resulted in the 76ers getting the No. 3 pick.
None of this had much to do with the Trail Blazers, as their three picks in the 2017 Draft (No. 15, No. 20 and No. 26) fell outside of the Lottery, and thus, were defined by regular season record rather than random chance. But having the order set does help when trying to figure out which players might be available once Portland is on the clock, and now that both the Lottery and NBA Combine have taken place, there is nothing left but workouts, which the Trail Blazers will likely start hosting something within the next two weeks (if they haven’t already). The players and positions the team brings in for workouts at their facility in Tualatin gives, by far, the best view into the direction the organization will take once the Draft is held in Brooklyn on June 22. That’s not to say the team wouldn’t draft a player who didn’t participate in a workout — they absolutely would — but the workouts provide a general sense of the types of player they’re most interested in.
But until those workouts start, there’s little more than the best guesses of NBA draft “experts,” to go off. So here’s a roundup of mock draft prognostications, most of which were put together after the Lottery…
15. John Collins
Collins’ position on the board will depend a lot on how well he shoots in workouts. He’s a good rebounder and can score in the paint, but scouts who watched him play in practices at Wake think he’s going to develop the ability to shoot 3s as well.
He’s also the youngest sophomore in the draft and perhaps one of the two or three most improved players in college basketball. There’s still some real upside here.
20. Ike Anigbogu
Anigbogu is a beast in the paint. He’s a terrific shot-blocker and rebounder who uses his strength and physicality to box out and finish at the rim.
He might be the most raw prospect on the board, but this is the Blazers’ second pick, and they can afford to gamble a little.
26. Isaiah Hartenstein
This is the third pick for the Blazers, and it makes sense that they’ll invest in a draft-and-stash prospect with at least one of them.
Hartenstein is an athletic big man who just lacks real refinement in his game. The Blazers can keep him overseas for another year or two.
15. Ike Anigbogu
UCLA | Freshman | Center
20. Ivan Rabb
Cal | Sophomore | PF/C
26. Tyler Lydon
Syracuse | Sophomore | SF/PF
15. John Collins | Wake Forest | PF | 6-10 | 225
He went from 7.3 points and 54.7-percent shooting as a freshman in 2015-16 to 19.2 and 62.2, respectively, this season while playing against the very good competition of the ACC. The offense, beyond scoring inside and capitalizing on offensive rebounds is very much a work in progress. But defensively, although hurt by foul trouble, he is active and could develop into a rebounder and shot blocker in the NBA.
20. Justin Patton | Creighton | C | 7-0 | 230
The redshirt freshman, originally not part of the discussion of the heralded first-year players, has surged with athleticism to go with the size. The 18 points on nine-of-12 shooting plus eight rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes when Creighton played then-No. 1 Villanova on Dec. 31 was part of getting noticed, but not everything. The rest of the season offered encouraging hints of Patton’s future.
26.Bam Adebayo | Kentucky | C | 6-10 | 250
He can play with some power inside or use mobility to score in transition, complete with the leaping ability that could lead to finishing a lot of lobs. Beyond potential as a rebounder and the ability to play in open court, though, Adebayo is offensively challenged, getting most of his baskets on the run or from offensive rebounds while struggling when he steps out, from the line or as a passer. He would almost certainly have to be paired with a big who can hit a shot or score from the post.
15. Portland — Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga. The Blazers will have options in the draft this year, with three picks. Even with Jusuf Nurkic in place, they could use frontcourt depth. Collins needs work, but he has the makings of a versatile big man who will blossom with time. He was a reserve for Gonzaga but showed good shooting form when he did play.
20. Portland (from Memphis) — Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse. Lydon is a solid combo forward who can knock down perimeter jumpers. The Blazers will also be looking for help at backup point guard, but they could pick that up later.
26. Portland (from Cleveland) — Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas. Mason was the Naismith Player of the Year after averaging 20.9 points as a senior. He measured just 6-0 with shoes, but his combination of speed, experience and shooting ability make him an NBA-ready backup point guard.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: Ike Anigbogu | C | Freshman | UCLA
After appearing to strike gold with Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers can address some of their interior concerns on the other side of the ball with this selection. Anigbogu’s insanely young, but he’s a rare defensive prospect and explosive athlete who’s already adept at catching lobs and finishing. If Portland stays specific with his development, he could be readier to contribute as a specialist sooner than expected. You can look at the job Houston did with Clint Capela as a touchstone.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Rodions Kurucs | F | 19 Years Old | Latvia
If the Blazers keep all three first-rounders they’ll likely have to stash someone, and Kurucs could be a candidate given his intriguing all-around offensive profile and relatively early stage of professional development in the Spanish B League. He’s versatile and has the makings of a useful player down the line. Portland’s situation could make him a fit.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Isaiah Hartenstein | F/C | 19 Years Old | Germany
Hartenstein is an intriguing prospect with nice size, strength and agility and another player Portland can find room to bring along in hopes his scoring catches up. He has funky shooting mechanics but isn’t an awful shooter, either, which becomes more palatable if he can handle playing the five defensively.
15. TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA: Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from 3-point range this season. He was overshadowed by his teammates at UCLA but still a statistical monster. He’s a perfect stretch-4 for the modern-day NBA. Damian Lillard could use him in Portland the way Kyrie Irving uses Kevin Love in Cleveland.
20. Harry Giles, PF, Duke: At some point somebody will take a flyer on Giles and rationalize it by stating he would’ve been a top-five pick a year ago. Will Giles ever become what so many projected him to become — i.e., the next Chris Webber? Honestly, I’m not sure. But he might. So he’s worth a gamble in the 20s.
26. Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA: What Anigbogu lacks in offensive skills he makes up for with tenacity and toughness. He’s a raw but interesting prospect who is still only 18 years old.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: C Jarrett Allen, Texas
Allen was the fastest and the best jumper of anyone who measured 6-10 or taller at the combine, and his 7-5¼ wingspan was 1¼ inches off the best in Chicago while his hands were second-biggest to Harry Giles. None of that would matter if he didn’t so perfectly project as a rim-protecting, rim-running modern center, a la Tyson Chandler.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Memphis Grizzlies): PF T.J. Leaf, UCLA
Everyone on UCLA put up gaudy offensive numbers last season, but Leaf’s were insane by any measure: He made 61.7% of his field goals and 46.6% of his 3s. At the combine, he compared his basketball IQ to a point guard’s and noted, “I can score on three levels, which a lot of bigs are not able to do.”
26. Portland Trail Blazers (via Cleveland Cavaliers): C Isaiah Hartenstein, Germany
Born in America but raised in Germany, Hartenstein has proven divisive among NBA types. His playing time for Lithuania’s legendary Zalgiris team was limited to garbage time, but he has shown in youth tournaments that he is a great passer who knows how to use his size. The success of European centers in the NBA likely will help him.
(posted on May 15)
15. Portland Trail Blazers — Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
The Blazers found a quality young center at midseason with the addition of Jusuf Nurkic. Allen would give them a different look in the frontcourt: he’s faster, longer, and more explosive. It might take Allen a couple years to develop, but his physical tools are worthy of a top-15 pick.
20. Portland Trail Blazers — T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
The Blazers have two athletic, versatile defenders in the frontcourt in Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless. They could use some shooting. Leaf would be perfect if he lasts this long. He hit 46.6 percent of the 58 threes he attempted as a freshman at UCLA.
26. Portland Trail Blazers — Derrick White, G, Colorado
White was a DII player before transferring to Colorado for his senior year blossoming into one of the best scorers in the Pac-12. He’s blown up during the pre-draft process, first at the Portsmouth Invitational and then with a solid showing at the combine. He doesn’t have many holes in his skill set on the offensive end and tested well enough athletically to possibly sneak into the first round. He’s worth a shot for a Blazers team with three first rounders.
(posted on May 10)
15. Jarrett Allen, Texas. Great size — 6’11” with 7’6″ wingspan — and he’s a great athlete. Could develop into Clint Capella like NBA big, but will he put in the work to do it?
20. Ike Anigbogu, UCLA. He’s got good size — 6’10” with long arms, strong — and is quick off the floor, which helps with rebounding and shot blocking, but the rest of his game needs polish.
26. Ivan Rabb, California. Would have gone a lot higher last year, but returned to college for a season. Put up better numbers this season but was less efficient.
15. Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina (Junior)
I’m skeptical of Jackson, since he’s a 22-year-old junior, and because his draft stock was boosted so significantly by his performance in the Final Four.
With that said, there’s no denying his ability to put the ball in the bucket — or his understanding of how to play within a system and use his teammates to get open. That kind of high-level IQ is one of the most important skills a player can have, short of being a flat-out superstar, and it comes with a little more seasoning in college. He should help the Blazers as soon as possible.
20. T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA (Freshman)
Height: 6’10”; Weight: 220 lbs; Age: 20 (April 30, 1997)
At the very minimum, Leaf will be a solid offensive player whose unique skills present problems for the opposition. He can create off the dribble, he has solid court vision and he can score from all over.
He’s limited defensively, and he’s not the most eager 3-point shooter, but the Blazers should be able to work with him on both those fronts as he learns next to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
26. Rodions Kurucs, SF, Barcelona (International)
Height: 6’8″; Weight: 190 lbs; Age: 19 (Feb. 5, 1998)
Kurucs has two years remaining on his deal with Barcelona, so the Blazers might not see the benefit of his services for a while. Once he’s ready to come stateside, though, Kurucs would be a nice complement to Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic with his scoring touch and willingness to move the rock to the open man.