Don’t do it Rip City
The Portland Trail Blazers will have two lottery picks in this week’s NBA draft, and while the potential is there in every prospect, there are a handful of players the team must avoid with the No. 6 and No. 11 picks.
Jeremy Lamb has the ability to be a great scorer, but questions surrounding his motor make him a big-time question mark.
Lamb has been able to coast on talent so far in his basketball career. If he’s not able to boost his aggressiveness starting next year, he may never reach his full potential as a go-to option on offense.
His physical frame will also be against him early on, as his 6’5”, 179-pound body will be undersized as a rookie next season.
The former Duke Blue Devil is a dynamic perimeter scorer, but his selfish play and inconsistent shooting would be a bad addition to a rebuilding Blazers roster.
Having committed more turnovers than assists last season, Austin Rivers won’t likely be switching to the point guard position, despite being a bit undersized for the 2-guard spot.
His ability to create his own shot and take over on offense is very good, but his jumper will need to be more consistent if he’s going to become a go-to scorer at the NBA level.
Athleticism and strength are also a concern. Rivers lacks both, and you have to wonder how well he’ll compete against bigger defenders early in his career.
Perry Jones III
Perry Jones III has fluctuated between about 15 and 20 on ESPN’s mock drafts, but based on talent alone he could be a tempting lottery selection in the NBA draft.
Jones has a solid perimeter skill set, but he appears to be a small forward stuck in a power forward’s body.
At 6’11”, Jones can score and dribble well on the outside, but has difficulty scoring with his back to the basket.
Finding his position at the NBA level could be difficult and could take quite some time, further lengthening the rebuilding stage that the Blazers entered this past season.
University of Connecticut center Andre Drummond is a popular selection with the Trail Blazers’ first pick.
His talent is tough to match, and his upside may be as high as anybody in the draft; but a raw offensive game and a questionable motor are both causes for concern.
Averaging 2.7 blocks per game last season, you know that the defensive presence is there. On the offensive end, however, his game is undeveloped, as he has virtually no low-post moves to his name.
Despite the ability to finish over defenders in the paint, Drummond settled for mid-range jumpers far too often last season.
He’s going to be a project moving forward, but how high his ceiling really goes is a guess at this point, making him one of the riskiest picks at No. 6.
Based on collegiate success and stellar averages at Ohio State University, Jared Sullinger should be a top-14 pick this summer.
A number of concerns, however, have caused his draft stock to plummet, and the Trail Blazers would be unwise to even consider drafting him in the lottery.
Despite solid scoring and rebounding numbers in college, poor conditioning and a below-the-rim style could keep him from succeeding at the NBA level.
Already noted for his lack of athleticism, Sullinger was also medically red flagged last week for concerns regarding the health of his back.
Players have been red flagged in the past and gone on to have productive careers, but with the Trail Blazers’ recent history still fresh in their minds, it would be ill-advised to reach for Sullinger at any point in the draft.