Planning Out The 2024 NBA Draft For The Portland Trail Blazers

June 15th, 2024

by Alan Lu

By all accounts, the Blazers had a very bad season this year, as they lost a lot of games, and their prized rookie point guard Scoot Henderson had a disappointing rookie season as he struggled to adjust to the NBA. After all though, they had traded away their long-time superstar point guard Damian Lillard, so they were not expected to be very competitive this year. Still, they have a slew of solid veterans in Malcolm Brogdon, Anfernee Simons, DeAndre Ayton, Robert Williams (who only played six games this season before going down due to a season-ending injury), and others, along with some solid young players such as Shaedon Sharpe, so it was very disappointing that they only won 21 games this year.

The Portland Trail Blazers did not have a great season as they finished 21-61, but they will look to do better next year. (Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images, via OregonLive)

The Blazers may be at a crossroads, as their current roster combined with an inexperienced coach that hasn’t won much at the NBA level makes for a very uncertain and possibly a bleak future for them for the time being. On the other hand, if they can turn things around for the better, then it seems that their core for now would most likely be Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons. Plus, it would be too early for the Blazers to give up on Scoot anyways, who is still a very talented player despite his disappointing rookie season. So, with their core mostly being small guards and perimeter players, they could use tall wings, combo forwards, or big men if they’re looking to answer both a need and to add a player that can help them for the foreseeable future.

If they plan to win now, then Dalton Knecht would be a very good choice here. He’s a very good shooter that can contribute right away, plays smart basketball, and is an above average athlete. On the other hand, he’s one of the older prospects in this draft and is close to being topped out, so if they want a higher ceiling player, then there may be other options at play.

Ron Holland is a tremendously athletic, energetic swingman that competes relentlessly, as he is a strong driver that will make hustle plays, and he is a rangy defender that has the potential to guard multiple positions, but he will really need to improve his jump shot.  Cody Williams is a tall, athletic swingman that projects to be a solid two-way wing and will make smart plays on both ends of the floor, but his reluctance to take outside shots and tendency to get hurt in games could give teams pause before selecting him here. Tidjane Salaun is a tremendously athletic forward that can shoot and make hustle plays, but his inconsistent play and lack of elite handles could make him a bit of a questionable pick at this spot. Stephon Castle is a very athletic swingman that will need to improve his jump shot, but he is a sterling defender that may be arguably the best perimeter defender in the draft. Dalton Knecht is a very skilled offensive player, but his advanced age and middling defensive skills may make him more suited to being their second first round pick than their pick at 7.

if the Blazers elect to take a center, Donovan Clingan would be a sensible pick at this spot. He is an athletic, energetic center that can lock down the paint, and he can be a rim protector for the Blazers. He also is a solid passing big man and can excel as the roll man on offense. On the other hand, he may need to expand his skill set offensively and may lack a diverse repertoire on offense. But with DeAndre Ayton seemingly enjoying being on a woeful Blazers team more so than on a good Suns team, the Blazers may need a player that they can grow with that will be willing to play on a winning team in the future.

At 14, they could swing for a polished player or a high upside prospect, as either could work for them there at that spot. Dalton Knecht, Devin Carter, and Zach Edey are all options if they go with the former route, and if Cody Williams or Ron Holland is on the board at 14, they should look to take them there.

Then, with their other two picks, they could either swing for the fences or make the best pick available at that spot, and Justin Edwards, Ryan Dunn, Terrence Shannon Jr., and Tyler Smith all would be interesting options at either 34 or 40.

Here is why did for the 2024 ESPN NBA Mock Draft Simulator:

Test Simulation #1:

A mock draft board for the Portland Trail Blazers.   Image courtesy of Fanspo.
A mock draft board for the Portland Trail Blazers. Image courtesy of ESPN Analytics.

Test Simulation #2:

A mock draft board for the Portland Trail Blazers.   2nd Test Simulation.  Image courtesy of Fanspo.
A mock draft board for the Portland Trail Blazers. 2nd Test Simulation. Image courtesy of ESPN Analytics.

Anyways, that is all for now. Thanks for reading.

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