The draft is two days away, and the Portland Trail Blazers hold the number-25 overall pick. Here are what five mock drafts have the Blazers taking with their selection.
(1) Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee Volunteers (CBS Sports‘ Kyle Boone)
Boone: Opinions vary on Williams, and while this may be seen as a reach for Portland, it would be a perfect fit. Williams can run the short roll in the Blazers’ offense and give Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum another weapon to roll teams with. His physical presence and improving perimeter skills could help him grow into an even better form of the two-time SEC Player of the Year he was in college.
(2) Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (Sports Illustrated)
SI.com: Kabengele has been a notable riser over the course of workouts and appears to be sitting pretty safely in the first round. He’ll turn 22 this summer, but he’s big, athletic, shoots with touch and was exceptionally productive on a per-minute basis at Florida State. He’s not much of a passer and is strictly a high-energy big who finishes plays, but there’s plenty of utility in that. Following his medical at the combine, teams seem to feel comfortable about the state of his knees, which had been a concern after he wore bulky braces all season.
The Blazers will be in position to grab the best player available here, and if it’s someone who can help them next season, even better. They have primarily worked out wings for this pick, but given Jusuf Nurkic’s health situation, adding another big who can space the floor and rebound makes sense on some level.
(4) Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State (Gary Parrish, CBS Sports)
Parrish: Horton-Tucker went from a borderline top-60 recruit coming out of high school to a likely first-round pick inside of a year thanks to a nice freshman season that saw him average 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game for an Iowa State team that won the Big 12 Tournament. The 6-5 guard is still only 18 years old; so patience will likely be required. But Horton-Tucker’s ability to play multiple positions makes him an interesting prospect.
(5) Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (NBA Draft Room)
NBA Draft Room: A tall, skinny shot blocker who is a difference maker on the defensive end. Has very active hands and quick-twitch athleticism.
(6) KZ Okpala, SG, Stanford (Draftek.com)
(7) Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA (Lineups.com)
Lineups.com: Kris Wilkes was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, and when he arrived at UCLA there were plenty of lofty expectations for the teenager. He was met, if not surpassed, many of those expectations. He was going to go to the NBA last year, but after the combine he decided to return to UCLA to mature and improve and he did just that. He improved his point production from 13.7 points per game, to 17.4 this year. With this scoring production paired with his athleticism, it will make him either a first-round pick or a very early second-round pick.
(8) Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia (Jonathan Givony, ESPN.com (Insider required)
Givony: The Blazers don’t have a great deal of backcourt depth and will see two of their main rotation options, Seth Curry and Rodney Hood, hit free agency this summer.
Jerome’s tremendous basketball IQ, perimeter shooting ability and competitiveness stand out at this point in the draft. After making a conference finals run, Portland probably will want to add a player who is ready to help right away as opposed to a long-term project.
(9) Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee (Jamie Hudson via Yahoo! Sports)
Hudson: First and foremost, you have to love a guy named Admiral. And even better, his brother’s name is General. His family’s navy roots aside, Schofield is a rare four-year player in the first round, having improved his stats each season at Tennessee. The Volunteers had a great season and Schofield showed himself to be a steady outside shooter and a fiery competitor. Portland worked him out recently and if they don’t trade this pick, they may decide to bring him aboard.
(10) Kevin Porter, SG/SF, USC (Steve Kyler, Basketball Insiders)
Let us know in the comments who you think the Blazers should take with the No.25 overall pick, or if the Blazers should package it in a trade to clear some more cap space?