2017 NBA draft grades: Blazers grab Collins in reported Kings trade, gamble on Swanigan
Portland finished with an even 41-41 record this year, landing a playoff berth as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Anchored by a backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the Trail Blazers put together a decent campaign in 2017, but it's going to take a lot to make them a contender in the perennially competitive conference. Portland bowed out to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
Last year, the Blazers saw little production from rookie Jake Layman, whom they drafted from the University of Maryland. With three picks in the first round this year, they could potentially add a lot of talent and give themselves a chance to bolster their roster.
Here's the full list of picks the Trail Blazers hold in the 2017 draft, which will be updated with grades and analysis as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 10 (via Kings): Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga
It made little sense for the cap-starved Blazers to use all three of their first-round selections. Portland will reportedly send Nos. 15 and 20 to Sacramento for this pick, and directly address a need with Collins, perhaps the top defensive big man in this class. There’s plenty of reason to be high on him, despite his limited playing time as a freshman, and teams believe he can become a strong jump shooter and rim protector at the next level. The Blazers will hope he’s the solution in the middle to compliment Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum sooner rather than later. It’s a shrewd move by GM Neil Olshey. — Jeremy Woo
Round 1, Pick 26: Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
The Blazers add another intriguing piece to their frontcourt in Swanigan, who has one of the best stories in the draft and brings a lot of skill toughness to the next level. He’s undersized and may struggle defensively due to slow feet, but he’s a great passer and rebounder who plays bigger than his size. This is a bit of a gamble, but a worthwhile one for Portland. He could be a unique player if he finds a way to stay on the floor. — Jeremy Woo