Trail Blazers Draft Targets Still Dancing In The NCAA Tournament


The Trail Blazers season has turned into tankathon year three. The Blazers have been rolling out a starting lineup of five rookies the past few games. That is never a recipe for success.

But the Trail Blazers have the potential to have two lottery picks this season by virtue of owning the Golden State Warriors first round pick as long as it does not land in the top four of the draft. That pick is currently projected to land anywhere from 10-16.

With the NCAA tournament in full affect I have highlighted some players still in the tournament to watch that the Blazers could target with the Warriors first round pick.

Here are my players to watch in the Sweet 16 for the Trail Blazers:

Dalton Knecht – Guard, Tennessee

Knecht is a player who wasn’t considered a draft pick before the season, but played his way into a potential lottery pick after his All American season at Tennessee. Knecht is averaging about 21 points per game and is known for his shooting ability. Shooting 39% and making 2.5 threes per game this season. There are some major questions with Knecht. He will be 23 years old at the draft which is very old for a lottery pick. There is also an athleticism question. Can he create his own shot at the NBA level? He has great size for a wing and has finished at the rim very well this season. But a guy that can shoot like Knecht has a role in the NBA. His ceiling will be determined on his ability to create for himself. He is a player that should be available at the Blazers second first round pick, and is a positional need as the Blazers need wings.

Donovan Clingan – Center, UCONN

Clingan may be the best defensive big man in college basketball. Averaging 2.4 blocks per game in only 22 minutes a game. At 7’2″ Clingan has the ability to protect the hoop but has also shown the ability to decently guard on the perimeter. Clingan has dealt with some injuries this season which is always concerning for a big man. Clingan is not a player who will be pushed around. He has height, strength, and is athletic. The lack of a jump shot is a question mark as well as Clingan has only shot 7 three point attempts in his collegiate career and is a 58% free throw shooter this season. The floor is high for Clingan being 7′ 2″ and athletic, but the ceiling may only be a role player at best. Clingan will be 20 years old at the draft.

Terrence Shannon Jr – Forward, Illinois

There are plenty of question marks off the floor for Shannon. Shannon has a case hearing in May for his alleged involvement in a rape in Lawrence, Kansas. For this argument I will be talking about his on court performance. He will be almost 24 years old when the draft comes around. But there is no arguing the talent that Shannon has. He has improved his game to become an elite offensive threat in the college game. 6’6″ and 225 pounds with the ability to attack the hoop and shoot the three. Averaging 23 points per game on the season, Shannon will be able to score in the NBA. The defensive side is the question mark for Shannon. He only has a 6’8″ wingspan, and his lateral quickness is below average. Shannon is a player that should be able to come into a NBA game and score some points, but he will give up his fair share of points as well. But the Blazers can always use a wing that can get buckets. The biggest question for Shannon is the off court questions. The on court ability is that of a NBA player.

Kyle Filipowski – Forward/Center, Duke

A 7’0″ center that can shoot can always be helpful in the NBA. That is what Filipowski is. Filpowski has a good looking jump shot and has become more efficient with that jump shot this season. Improving his field goal percentage from 44% as a Freshman to 51% as a a Sophomore. The question with centers who can shoot is how do they defend? Filipowski will never be considered an elite defender, but he is long and is willing to get physical down low. A willing defender I would call him. Upping his blocks per game from .7 as Freshman to 1.6 as a Sophomore. Filipowski will be 20 years old at the draft and has shown improvement which is something I look for. I don’t think he is ready to be a NBA player right away, but if he can continue to develop and improve. Filipowski has the skills and body type to be a starting forward/center in the NBA.