Portland Trail Blazers: 2020 NBA Draft Preview

It isn’t discussed enough that despite having one of the best backcourts in the NBA — the two-headed scoring machine of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum — and additional offensive might from the collective abilities of players like Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony, the Blazers can’t seem to figure out how to take full advantage of the Dame Lillard Era.

With the five-time All-Star now 30-years-old and his backcourt mate (McCollum) now 29-years-old, Portland’s window to win it all with Lillard is steadily shrinking. Consequently, the next two to three seasons will be key forecasting whether or not Lillard can ever get over the Conference Finals hump with the Blazers.

Related: Full Portland Trail Blazers 2020 Salary Cap Preview

2020 NBA Draft Picks

No. 16 overallNo. 46 overall

Blazers Draft Needs

Last season, poor perimeter defense is what plagued the Blazers, as they gave up 116.1 points per game (26th in the NBA), allowing teams to shoot .383 from 3-point range. Portland also had issues with keeping opposing teams off the offensive glass and getting more from their bench unit.

Lockdown defenders and monster glass-cleaners may not be the sexiest prospects to pick in the draft but the Blazers don’t need ‘sexy,’ they need a practical solution to their problems. Drafting for fit is the pragmatic approach that Portland, a perennial playoff contender, should adopt ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Furthermore, two of the Blazers’ major players — Anthony and Whiteside — will be free agents this offseason. Both have readily recognizable flaws and holes in their game but they’re not going to be easy to replace.

While they may be able to find the type of defender they need in the second-round of the draft, their first-round pick should be used on a player who can somewhat replicate the production of Whiteside or Melo.

No. 16 overallNo. 46 overall
G-F Aaron Nesmith, VanderbiltPF Reggie Perry, Mississippi St.
F Saddiq Bey, VillanovaPG Payton Pritchard, Oregon
SG Josh Green, ArizonaSG Cassius Stanley, Duke
SG Desmond Bane, TCUPF Paul Reed, DePaul
F Jaden McDaniels, WashingtonSF Kenyon Martin Jr., IMG Academy

What The Mocks Are Saying

The RingerSaddiq Bey (No. 16)
The AthleticSaddiq Bey (No. 16), Payton Pritchard (No. 46)
USA TODAY SportsPrecious Achiuwa (No. 16)
CBS SportsDesmond Bane (No. 16)
The ScoreSaddiq Bey (No. 16)

Projected Roster

GAnfernee Simmons
PGDamian Lillard
SGC.J. McCollum
SGGary Trent Jr.
G-FRodney Hood
FTrevor Ariza
FMario Hezonja
F-CZach Collins
F-CNassir Little
CJusuf Nurkic

Team-by-Team NBA Draft Guides

New YorkDetroitMiami
DenverGolden StateDallas
MinnesotaLA ClippersMemphis
Oklahoma LA LakersNew Orleans
UtahSacramentoSan Antonio

More: SLAM’s 2020 NBA Draft Preview