Portland Trail Blazers: 2022 NBA Draft Team Needs and Targets
With the 2022 NBA Draft fast approaching, we're taking a look at what each lottery team needs to target with their draft selections, continuing with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Welcome back to our No Ceilings 2022 NBA Draft Lottery Team Series!
Over the next few weeks, we as a team are going to dive into the needs and targets of each lottery squad. What are the weaknesses and holes of each franchise? Are there players targetable in the lottery who can help fill those gaps?
We will answer those questions and more 5-on-5 style, continuing with the Portland Trail Blazers!
Without further ado, let’s see where Portland should look for some help with the seventh overall pick.
1. What do you think is the biggest weakness for the Trail Blazers that NEEDS to be addressed on draft night?
Nathan: DEFENSE. In any way, shape, or form the team can get it. There are a few bigs that the team could target, and there are also two-way wings to go after or guards that can defend both backcourt spots should the team keep its lottery selection.
Tyler Rucker: It’s going to sound ridiculous, but this team just flat-out needs talent. Yes, the defense is a glaring weakness for this roster, but there are too many holes to fill moving forward. Portland should be incredibly active this offseason with reshaping their roster, but the Blazers need to make sure they find some contributors in this draft, whether it’s with their selection or via a trade.
Tyler Metcalf: Two-way impact. They feel like a team with some players who can score, some with a high motor willing to defend, but almost none who can do both.
Nick: This team is in desperate need of defensive help, pretty much across the board. Basically, any defensively gifted prospect at any position would make sense for the Trail Blazers.
Albert: Defense would be very good. This team needs a lot, but adding defensive versatility and length should be their focus.
Alex: I am going to echo the rest of my colleagues and go with DEFENSE at any position.
Evan: I’m all-in on the star potential that Anfernee Simons has shown, and pairing him with a hopefully healthy Damian Lillard next season should give Portland one of the best scoring backcourt tandems in the league. This team desperately needs help on the defensive end of the floor, though, and specifically at the wing spot, in my opinion.
Maxwell: Defense and size; wings and forwards that help Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.
Stephen: Frontcourt and Wing depth. I’d love to see Portland get a player that could play multiple positions, a player that could give Portland multiple lineups.
2. Which position group would you target most for the Trail Blazers: Guards, Wings, Forwards, or Centers?
Nathan: I can’t limit this answer to one group because of how immediate the needs are for the team to improve defensively. There are good defenders at each positional group, so whichever fits the mold of BPA under defense should be considered heavily by the Trail Blazers.
Tyler Rucker: Within the range in which Portland will be selecting, I would lean towards wings. There should be a nice run of talent in that spot, so Portland should have a good idea of who should be remaining on the board.
Tyler Metcalf: Wings. Add some perimeter defense and shooting.
Nick: This team basically only has one center in Jusuf Nurkic, and I would STILL say wings as the top target for this team. They have really needed help on the wing for a few seasons now, and they could start shoring up that weak spot in this draft.
Albert: Long wings.
Alex: Most? Anything other than guard. But they could also use some defensive-minded guards on this roster too.
Maxwell: Forwards and wings.
Stephen: The holes are many; Wings and Forwards are atop the list.
3. Is there any argument for the Trail Blazers to draft based on fit around a core group of players, or should “BPA” be in play at all times for Portland on draft night?
Nathan: BPA. BPA all freaking day for Portland. Damian Lillard has been patient enough. I would expect this pick to be on the move on draft night, but if not, then the team has to get the best defensive prospect on the board to help bolster the main weakness this team has had for years.
Tyler Rucker: If any team in the Top 10 should be a “poster child” for BPA…it should be Portland. Let the board fall to you, trust your scouting department and just keep on adding talent to the roster. Portland should be in a great spot to get a nice talent, and they also could find themselves in the “sweet spot” to move back a bit.
Tyler Metcalf: BPA. Need will be tempting, but this team has a long way to go to reach their previous heights. Get the best guy available to pair with Dame and potentially build around if Dame asks out.
Nick: BPA. This team isn’t deep enough at any position to take any player other than the best option on their board except arguably at guard, and even then, they should probably just opt for BPA here.
Albert: No question, BPA; this team needs a lot.
Alex: Dame throws a wrinkle into this question, but given the roster is lacking at almost every position, it’s BPA
Evan: It’s BPA, and it’s not much of a debate for me.
Maxwell: I’m saying BPA, but in a normal draft class, I’d add “outside of point guards.” This class is thin at that position, though, so just BPA.
Stephen: There isn’t a guard that comes close to threatening Damian Lillard, positionally or all-around. That being said, BPA is the name of the game for the Blazers.
4. Who are the Top 5 targets for the Trail Blazers to select with the seventh pick?
Nathan: Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, Jalen Duren, Bennedict Mathurin, and Mark Williams.
Tyler Rucker: Keegan Murray, Bennedict Mathurin, Johnny Davis, Dyson Daniels, and AJ Griffin.
Tyler Metcalf: Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, and Jalen Duren.
Nick: Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis, Bennedict Mathurin, Dyson Daniels, and Shaedon Sharpe.
Albert: Johnny Davis, Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, and Jalen Duren.
Alex: Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, AJ Griffin, and Bennedict Mathurin.
Evan: AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, Johnny Davis, Keegan Murray, and Shaedon Sharpe.
Maxwell: Dyson Daniels, Shaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, Keegan Murray, and Jeremy Sochan.
Stephen: Shaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, Johnny Davis, Keegan Murray, and Jalen Duren.
5. Who is an under-the-radar surprise target for the Trail Blazers?
Nathan: Jeremy Sochan is a raw offensive prospect, but he could also be the best defensive player in this entire class. While I would still take Dyson Daniels on the perimeter, his potential five-position versatility on that end as his body continues to fill out is very intriguing. Playing small has been a growing trend in the league for a while now, and having someone like Sochan who can cover as much ground as he can while offering lineup flexibility outside of Nurkic (should he remain on the team) could be too great for the team to pass on despite not having the “sexy shot-making package” at the moment.
Tyler Rucker: I would probably say that Jalen Duren or Mark Williams could be the absolute wildcard here for Portland. Duren wouldn’t shock me, as he has the athleticism, upside, and raw talent to warrant a Top 10 selection. While Williams at #7 could be an eye-opener, it would be the Blazers thinking they could get an early contributing two-way big man right away. It would still make more sense to try to move back, but those would be some “curveball” scenarios.
Tyler Metcalf: Ousmane Dieng. What he showed in the second half of the season was pretty special. He has some crazy upside and can fill in as a spot-up shooter immediately.
Nick: Taking him at #7 overall seems like more than a little bit of a reach, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trail Blazers fall in love with defensive wizard and shooting threat Ochai Agbaji here–especially given his connection with Damian Lillard.
Albert: Peyton Watson could be an intriguing upside pick for them at 36. Considering his length, fluidity, handle, and playmaking, he could become a really intriguing player for them someday.
Alex: This might be where we get a reach for one of the centers. I can see Jalen Duren or Mark Williams going there and immediately helping out with some much-needed rim protection. It is a safe pick if the team wants to stick with building around Dame.
Evan: I’m going to agree with Metcalf and go with Ousmane Dieng. I think the Trail Blazers could definitely be one of the teams who gets tantalized by his potential and takes the swing at #7.
Maxwell: Mark Williams. He’d cover up a lot of defensive issues immediately, and his ability to impact winning with a low-maintenance offensive game pairs well with their backcourt.
Stephen: Could Bryce McGowens be the player that Portland takes regardless of his projections? We know that the Trail Blazers traditionally aren’t afraid to “take a chance” on players they like, despite what consensus has to say. His rim pressure and size check several boxes for Portland and, should he hit, would give Dame a solid partner on the wing.