The Blue Route Mock Draft: Pick 25 – Portland Trail Blazers

With the twenty-fifth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
    1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
    2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
    3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
    4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
    5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
    6. Phoenix Suns – Coby White
    7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish
    8. Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya
    9. Washington Wizards – Bol Bol 
    10. Atlanta Hawks – Jaxson Hayes 
    11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nickeil Alexander-Walker
    12. Charlotte Hornets – Darius Garland
    13. Miami Heat – PJ Washington
    14. Boston Celtics – Brandon Clarke
    15. Detroit Pistons – Rui Hachimura
    16. Orlando Magic – Goga Bitazde
    17. Atlanta Hawks – Nassir Little
    18. Indiana Pacers – Bruno Fernando
    19. San Antonio Spurs – Cam Johnson
    20. Boston Celtics – Talen Horton-Tucker
    21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tyler Herro
    22. Boston Celtics – Romeo Langford
    23. Utah Jazz – Matisse Thybulle
    24. Philadelphia 76ers – Kevin Porter Jr.

Current State of the Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have made the playoffs in each of the past six seasons. The Aldridge-Batum-Lillard core didn’t get the job done. The Lillard-McCollum core has fallen in each of the past four years, thrice against the Warriors and one embarrassing sweep against the Pelicans. With the Warriors sure to undergo massive changes, it seems likely that the Blazers will give it one more go with the current core and see if they can’t succeed with that massive roadblock at least somewhat diminished.

Much of the Blazers’ supporting cast hits free agency after this upcoming season. If they still can’t make it to the Finals, Neil Olshey and the rest of the front office could be facing some very tough questions.

Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency

The Blazers’ cap situation is a nightmare. They are around $5M below the projected luxury tax before factoring in their pick or the potential re-signings of Aminu, Hood, Curry, Kanter, or Layman. It will be difficult to find takers for Evan Turner’s or Meyers Leonard’s big expiring contracts with little to attach to it. To the extent the Blazers participate in free agency, it will be scouring the very bottom of the market for roster filler. They’re hoping to retain their own; anything beyond that is out of their financial reach.

The Selection – Grant Williams

With Aminu likely to be too expensive to retain, Grant Williams provides a ready-now fill-in for a team that will need help from everywhere they can get it this year. From a fit perspective, it would’ve been hard for Portland to find a better player at this slot in the draft.

Williams projects as an undersized PF, but he is already grown man strong despite being just 20 years old. He is a good two way player who should be able to hold his own defensively against opposing PFs from day one. The biggest question for Williams, as it is for most players, is how far his range extends. With the range-limited Nurkic manning the post and the range-questionable Harkless at SF, adding another potential non-shooter to the mix could lead to the dreaded clogged toilet. Williams would operate best alongside a stretch 5 at this point in his career until his shooting comes along. Still, once you get outside the lottery, prospects like Williams are exactly what you look for if you need help now.

Rookie Prediction

Williams’ rookie season will depend a lot on where he ends up. If he gets drafted by a bad team and gets a lot of minutes and opportunities, he could put up very good numbers right away. If he gets drafted to a competitive team, he will likely be limited to a supporting bench role. Either way, he should be able to at least hold his own on opening day. He may even be one of the better rookies from the class this year. I am not quite as bullish on his long term future, but for teams that need help now, he’s a good guy to have.

Projected Stats, Per Game: 22 mpg, 12 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.8 bpg. He should be a competent roleplayer from day one no matter where he ends up.