2019 NBA Draft

Introducing Nassir Little: Make your own legacy

Introducing Nassir Little: Make your own legacy

When we sat down with Nassir Little, he had just finished his first NBA photo shoot and was in his Trail Blazer uniform for the first time. His mother and sister were nearby, awaiting his one-on-one with us, then his first Portland news conference. It was his first real day as an NBA player – the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

It was a fun interview with a young man who has the vibe of a special person.

And a special player. I think Portland fans will fall in love with their team’s newest rookie. But of course, they always do, right?

The pick is in! Blazers select UNC's Nassir Little at No. 25

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NBC Sports Northwest

The pick is in! Blazers select UNC's Nassir Little at No. 25

The Portland Trail Blazers went with a need in this year's draft – an athletic, strong wing, who can defend.

With the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Trail Blazers select UNC's freshman forward Nassir Little.

The 19 year-old is projected to be a valuable “3 and D” player at the next level. He will just need to continue to work on his three-point shooting. 

Little was projected to be selected anywhere from No. 10 to the mid 20s in various mock drafts. 

Could he be one of the big steals in this year's draft? 

Little has elite physical attributes and does the dirty work on the defensive end. He also crashes the boards hard, and he proved that in the NCAA Tourney. He didn’t get very much playing time this season, averaging 18 minutes per game, but he’s a double-double talent as his per-40 minute numbers show with 21.5 points and 10.1 rebounds.

Little is a one-and-done player who stands at 6’6”, 220 pounds. His favorite NBA player is Kawhi Leonard. Little hails from Orlando, FL.

Make sure to check back throughout the night for more videos and articles on the newest Trail Blazer.

Denver acquires Bol Bol at No. 44: Gains a potential mismatch for the ages

Denver acquires Bol Bol at No. 44: Gains a potential mismatch for the ages

The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon seemed to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. The Miami Heat selected Bol Bol with the 44th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft and then traded the former Duck to the Denver Nuggets. Last year's player selected at No. 44 played overseas, according to RealGM.com

Here is what the Nuggets are getting with the one of the most talked about prospects and how Bol fits the team’s needs.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bol became the second one-and-done player in Oregon men’s basketball program history (Troy Brown, 2018). Bol would make six Ducks on NBA rosters - the most Oregon would have ever had in the NBA at one time. He is the first top four national recruit not taken in the first round since 2013. 

THE NBA REACTED when Bol fell to the second round after being considered a consensus lottery pick a few months ago.

AT OREGON

Bol’s talent was undeniable during his short stint in green and yellow. A five-star recruit in Oregon's star-studded 2018 recruiting class, Bol elected to exhaust his eligibility after playing in just nine games at Oregon. However, he made the most of his time; the center reached double figures in all nine games and recorded a double-double in four of those games. Bol averaging 21 points, nine rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

TEAM NEEDS 

Denver decided Bol’s potential reward is worth the risk and rolled the dice on his unique skillset. 7-foot 2 centers with 7-foot-8 wingspans with terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three) don’t come along often. Bol’s ceiling is high as a floor-spacing, rim-protecting big man. The Nuggets are getting a major mismatch potential.

PRAISED FOR 

He is one of the longest players in NBA, measuring at 7’2 with a 7’7 wingspan and 9’7 standing reach at the combine. Even with his length, he is surprisingly quick. He is a serious weapon from beyond the arc; hitting 52 percent of his three-pointers at Oregon. Bol is an effective shot blocker; blocking 12.4 percent of opposing shots while he was on the floor at Oregon.

NEEDS TO WORK ON 

Bol’s measurements are a red flag. At the NBA combine, Bol weighed in 208 pounds, the same weight as Duke’s 6'8" Cam Reddish. He also was listed at 7.1 percent body fat, one of the highest percentages measured. On the 2018-19 Oregon basketball roster, Bol was listed as 235 pounds before his season ending foot injury. It’s highly possible Oregon rounded up on his weight, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the 18-year-old has dropped almost 30 pounds. However, NBA teams will want to see him get stronger and put on more weight. 

It’s imperative Bol lives in the weight room and works on his endurance to reach his NBA potential.

HOMETOWN Olathe, Kan.

OREGON COACH DANA ALTMAN SAID

“Bol is a very talented young man who will continue to grow as a player as he gets stronger,” said Altman. “He has some unique skills that will allow him to have a long and prosperous career.”

Outsiders: John Sabine - The great unknown draft prospect

Outsiders: John Sabine - The great unknown draft prospect

We all have dreams. Some big, some small, but dreams the same. Now one of our friends in Chicago is trying to live his - make it in the NBA.

John Sabine has officially entered his name in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Who is John Sabine you ask? Sabine is a fellow Outsider, co-host of Bulls Outsiders in Chicago. He's short by NBA standards, he's slow by any standards, and his strength measurables leave much to be desired. But hey, they also said Kevin Durant was too weak when he entered the NBA and that hasn't hurt him one bit. 

Sabine is laying it all on the line to live the dream. Will an NBA team take the risk and draft him? You can always coach him up and fix his skillset. One thing you can't teach is leadership. By all accounts, Sabine is a class act. The perfect locker room guy. He's not the water boy, but if someone needs a quick drink he won't hesitate to jump up and grab the Gatorade. He's a team-first guy. Sometimes it's that mentality in the team huddle that helps get the squad over the hump.

At the very, very least one of these 30 NBA should at least sign Sabine to their Summer League squad. Everything to gain, nothing to lose. 

Sabine is dreaming, and dreaming big. Here's to hoping he lands on an NBA roster. Just think of the future documentary potential! These are the stories made for TV movies are made of. 

Our Blazers Outsiders took the time to breakdown some of Sabine's training film and you can hear their analysis in the video above.

NBC Sports Mock Draft 6.0, will the Trail Blazers keep their pick?

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USA Today Images

NBC Sports Mock Draft 6.0, will the Trail Blazers keep their pick?

We are less than a week away from the 2019 NBA Draft!  Now that pre-draft workouts are wrapping up all around the league, the countdown to draft day is on.  With the Pelicans acquiring the Lakers pick (for now?), things are getting very interesting in the middle of the lottery. 

Let's take a look at how we see the NBA Draft going down and who the Trail Blazers might pick at No. 25.  This upcoming field of players has the potential to impact the balance of power in the NBA for many years to come…

No. 1 [Pelicans] -- Zion Williamson, Forward, Duke

Minutes after New Orleans won the draft lottery in May, all the buzz was about the addition of Williamson possibly swaying Anthony Davis to stay in the Big Easy. As it turns out, Davis is now in Hollywood and the Pelicans added a few solid pieces to go along with their prized top pick (not to mention a haul of future draft picks).  Williamson has been talked about for months as the best prospect in this draft class. He’s a 6-7 forward weighing in at 284 lbs who was an extremely entertaining player to watch while his athleticism was on full display while at Duke. Averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a first-year player, Williamson led the Blue Devils to the Elite Eight. Now with the Pelicans, he'll be tasked with leading a core of young players including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart on a playoff hunt in the coming years.

No. 2 [Grizzlies] -- Ja Morant, Point, Murray State

When the first reports broke about Morant undergoing “a minor arthroscopic procedure" on his right knee, the rumors started swirling that Memphis was no longer interested in Morant’s services. However, with Morant’s rehab timeline revealing he should be ready to go in early July, it looks like the Grizzlies will still take him No. 2 overall. Adding fuel to the fire, recent rumors have longtime Grizzly point guard Mike Conley possibly on the trading block, which would make it all the more likely that Morant is the Grizzlies' man.  Morant would be add some flare to the grit-and-grind style in Memphis.  After all, Morant put on a show at Murray State. The 6-3 sophomore excels at getting to the rim. He also easily breaks down defenders with his smooth handles. He is a guard who can get his teammates involved as well.

No. 3 [Knicks] -- RJ Barrett, Forward, Duke

Barrett is a high-energy player, and was Duke’s most consistent scorer. There’s no doubt he will be a high pick on Draft Night, though Barrett will need to work on his ball handling to become more efficient in the half court. The 19-year-old, whose birthday was June 14th, has met with both the Knicks and the Grizzlies. Stay tuned for some possible draft night drama however, if the Knicks don't select Barrett, and he falls into a reunion with his Blue Devil teammate Zion Williamson at the Pelicans 4th overall pick.  FUN FACT: Barrett’s Godfather is former NBA star Steve Nash.

No. 4 [Pelicans from Lakers] -- De’Andre Hunter, Forward, Virginia

We'll start with a disclaimer:  It's very possible, even likely, that the Pelicans trade this freshly-acquired pick.  That being said, if they do make the selection, signs point to De'Andre Hunter.  Hunter is a solid on-ball defender, who has great size and can knock down big shots, as seen in the NCAA Title game with his game tying three-pointer with 12.9 seconds left in regulation. The NABC Defensive Player of the Year, Hunter was matched up on Jarrett Culver all night in a battle of future pros. Hunter held Culver to 5-of-22 from the field and is now a National Champion.  Hunter's shotmaking ability would be a nice compliment to the playmaking ability of the Pelicans' top pick Zion Williamson.

No. 5 [Cavaliers] -- Jarrett Culver, Guard, Texas Tech

Culver has been targeted as a high lottery pick since Texas Tech advanced to the NCAA Championship game. The 6-5 junior picked up his scoring over the last month of the college season, and showed off his versatile offensive game during this past March Madness. Culver has also proven he is an above-average perimeter defender. His jumpshot is still a work in progress, though he would have lots of time to work on that with the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers.

No. 6 [Suns] -- Darius Garland, Point Guard, Vanderbilt

Crafty, quick, elite ball handler, with an impressive pull-up off the dribble – these skills all describe Garland. The Vanderbilt Freshman suffered a knee injury back in November that caused him to miss a big chunk of the college basketball season, but scouts have seen enough of his offense to take a chance on him. Garland needs work on the other end of the ball though.

No. 7 [Bulls] -- Coby White, Point Guard, North Carolina

White has proven he has the ability to create shots off the dribble effectively and efficiently. He also has nice size to be able to defend NBA shooting guards. Chicago lacks true star-power at the guard position (and really on the entire roster, to be honest) so White could break into the rotation quickly with the Bulls.

No. 8 [Hawks] -- Cam Reddish, Forward, Duke

Another Duke star, Reddish is a 6-9 freshman and is seen as having big potential. He’s a versatile small forward and has a quick release. Reddish didn’t quite live up to the hype at Duke, but there are still several NBA teams out there that are excited about his potential. Reddish would give the Hawks another big man to put around sophomore guard Trae Young.

No. 9 [Wizards] -- Jaxson Hayes, Forward, Texas

Hayes is a valuable rim protector and a threat to score the ball as well. He averaged 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes while shooting an efficient 72.8 percent from the field. Hayes has all the right physical tools needed for the next level. He has been compared to Nets forward Jarrett Allen.

No. 10 [Hawks from Mavericks] -- Brandon Clarke, Power Forward/Center, Gonzaga

Clarke is on the older end of the spectrum at 22-years-old. The 6-8 big man has been surging up the draft boards after his impressive and gutty performance in the Big Dance. He caught a lot of attention when he scored 36 points in Gonzaga’s 83-71 win over No. 9 seed Baylor in the second round. Clarke was a consistent scorer most of the season, shooting nearly 70% from the field. But, it’s his rim protection and his overall defense that has really turned heads. Clarke averaged 1.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game this season.

WHAT ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS?

No. 25 [Blazers] -- Admiral Schofield, Small Forward, Tennessee

First and foremost, you have to love a guy named Admiral.  And even better, his brother's name is General.  His family's navy roots aside, Schofield is a rare four-year player in the first round, having improved his stats each season at Tennessee.  The Volunteers had a great season and Schofield showed himself to be a steady outside shooter and a fiery competitor.  Portland worked him out recently and if they don't trade this pick, they may decide to bring him aboard.

 

Download the MyTeams app today for the FULL 2019 First Round Mock Draft  

Louis King an attractive selection for Trail Blazers

Louis King an attractive selection for Trail Blazers

Oregon basketball star Louis King traveled back to the state for a Trail Blazers pre-NBA draft workout on Sunday. It marked the 6-foot-9 forward’s ninth workout ahead of the draft, which will be held on Thursday, June 20.

The Ducks’ leading scorer chose to strike when the iron was hot and leave UO after one season. King’s draft stock certainly climbed through Oregon’s run in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament after scoring in double-figures in each game and being named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team. But how far? Is it possible the Trail Blazers, who hold the No. 25 pick, draft King?

The former five-star recruit has been listed as the No. 36 prospect in the draft by ESPN. Most mock drafts are first round only and do not have King listed, the consensus is that he will be selected in the second round.

[READ:Red flags and stress: NBA analyst says pass on Bol Bol]

The Trail Blazers own one pick- the No. 25 overall selection of the first round. While it is unlikely King would be selected that high (although his agent has his draft range from 15-40), the former Duck playing for Portland is not impossible.

When asked if staying in Oregon and becoming a Trail Blazer was an attractive scenario, King responded, “Absolutely.”

“It’s been going great. I’m just excited to come here and compete in front of the front office for every workout,” King said.

If the Blazers trade away the 25th pick for a package deal, Portland could end up with a later second round pick. In which case, it’d make sense for Portland to target an athletic wing player.

“The depth at wing could be a concern for the Blazers with both Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood hitting free agency this summer,” NBC Sports Blazers Insider Jamie Hudson said. “Not to mention, the Blazers drafted two guards last year, so they would likely bring in a young forward to grow alongside Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr.”

If King is still on the board and the Trail Blazers end up with a second round pick, his power forward size, tenacious defense and perimeter skill set would make him an attractive pick for Portland.

King has one remaining workout with the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to Thursday's draft, which begins at 4 p.m. (PT).

Outsiders: Will the Blazers actually use the No.25 pick?

Outsiders: Will the Blazers actually use the No.25 pick?

The Blazers have the 25th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and have already held three pre-draft workouts, but will they actually end up using the pick?

So far the players they have brought in point to no, but workouts don't always tell the story.

Remember the Blazers drafted Zach Collins without ever bringing him in for a workout.

So what will the Blazers do on June 20th? Our Blazers Outsiders discuss in the video above.

Red flags and stress: NBA analyst says pass on Bol Bol

Red flags and stress: NBA analyst says pass on Bol Bol

The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon who seemed to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. With the NBA Draft right around the corner, there are some hot takes on Bol Bol.

It’s easy to see why Bol is one of the most intriguing players in the 2019 NBA draft: 7-foot 2 centers with 7-foot-8 wingspans with terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three) don’t come along often. In his nine games with the Ducks, he led the team in points (21.0 per game), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (2.7).

However, Rob Dauster of NBC Sports is saying to pass on the former 5-star recruit who has been pegged as a boom-or-bust prospect. Here are the red flags:

Bol’s measurements

Bol weighed in 208 pounds, the same weight as Duke’s 6'8" Cam Reddish. He also was listed at 7.1 percent body fat, one of the highest percentages measured. On the 2018-19 Oregon basketball roster, Bol was listed as 235 pounds before his season ending foot injury. It’s highly possible Oregon rounded up on his weight, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the 18-year-old has dropped almost 30 pounds. However, NBA teams will want to see him get stronger and put on more weight.

Who will Bol be able to guard in the NBA?

“For someone that can be such a high-level rim protector when he wants to be, Bol is just a terrible defender. In an era where versatility and positionless basketball has become king, the saying you’ll hear in coaching circles is, “You are who you can guard,” says Dauster.

“He also has nowhere near the footspeed or lateral quickness to be able to defend anyone on the perimeter. The idea of asking him to switch a pick-and-roll and try to stay in front of any NBA guard will cost his coaching staff next season at least two hours of sleep every night before a game.”

Durability/Endurance

Durability is the biggest issue that surrounds Bol as he joined a large group of seven-footers with foot problems. He has dealt with various injuries throughout his basketball career and questions will linger until he’s back on the court.

“If his conditioning was an issue playing just nine games at the college level, will he be able to handle the rigors of an 82-game season while carrying 250-260 pounds in an ideal world?” says Dauster.

Work ethic

How much does Bol like basketball? Work ethic and mentality concerns have loomed around Bol since coming out of high school. At Oregon, sometimes he’d float on the perimeter and shy away from contact. How hard is he willing to work to develop into the best NBA player he can be?

“He needs to live in the weight room for his first two or three seasons in the NBA. When he’s not in the weight room, he needs to be in the practice gym, learning how to play and where to be on the defensive side of the ball,” says Dauster.

 

Bol’s talent was undeniable during his short stint in green and yellow. But did he display enough of his immense potential before the season ending injury to wipe away the red flag durability concerns?

Bol’s ceiling is high as a floor-spacing, rim-protecting big man. But does his potential for stardom outweigh the possibility of a bust? And if so, which team will roll the dice on his unique skillset?

A lot of questions and not many answers… Stay tuned for more as the 2019 NBA Draft begins June 20.

Trail Blazers are first pre-draft workout for Stephen Thompson Jr.

Trail Blazers are first pre-draft workout for Stephen Thompson Jr.

Stephen Thompson Jr. is certainly no stranger to this area. But even though he played four seasons at Oregon State, it was not a short ride up Interstate-5 for his Trail Blazers’ pre-draft workout Monday. Like so many other players, he has trainers elsewhere and Thompson made the trip from southern California.

But it was eventful, because it was his very first pre-draft workout for an NBA team.

“Definitely a great experience,” he said. “A great opportunity for me to come out here and show what I can do in a workout setting. Hopefully, I’ll get a few more before the draft.”

Thompson, whose father is an assistant coach for the Beavers, had a solid career at OSU and finished it off by starting all 31 games for his team as a senior, averaging 16.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. The 6-4, 190-pounder shot 34 percent from three-point range for his career.

And that outside shooting is something he believes makes him an option for an NBA team.

“Spacing the floor,’ he said. “Shooting the ball and being able to attack the closeout. Hit open shots.”

He said he didn’t encounter anything during the workout Monday that he wasn’t expecting.

“Other guys and my trainers have been telling me what to expect,” he said.

He was asked what he needs to do to improve his game, which, of course, would give him his best chance to find a place in the league.

“Definitely the main thing is getting stronger,” he said. “Playing with more physicality, especially on the defensive end. Guarding the ball one-one-one, my feet – things like that.”

Thompson is going through the draft process without his younger brother Ethan, a redshirt sophomore last season who originally declared for the draft but withdrew on the final day he could do so.

“For the most part, while he was still in the draft, we were together all the time,” Stephen said. “Working out every day, lifting, things like that. It’s been all right being without him. He’s doing his thing, I know he’s going to have a big year next season and I’m looking forward to seeing that as well.”

Trail Blazer workouts: Ky Bowman spurned 'Bama, UO football for hoops

Trail Blazer workouts: Ky Bowman spurned 'Bama, UO football for hoops

Ky Bowman could have been catching passes at Alabama or Oregon. Instead, he ended up playing basketball at Boston College.

And now, as he tries to earn a spot on an NBA team’s roster, that football mentality just might serve him well. In Portland Monday morning to showcase his skills for the Trail Blazers, Bowman is creating a buzz among some of the teams he’s worked out for – and there have been many of those teams.

“This is my 16th workout,” he said with a smile. “I’ve been going out and playing hard, showing people I can play defense and conducting things on offense, showing people that I’m not just a scorer.”

A 6-1, 188-pound guard out of Boston College, Bowman originally committed to play football at North Carolina. He says he had "personal invitations" to football camps at Alabama and Oregon but couldn’t attend them because of a death in the family. And then when he got an offer to play basketball at BC, he knew he had to take it.

At Boston College, he averaged 19 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game, which shooting 37.4 percent from three-point range as a junior last season.

“I’m glad I chose basketball,” he said. “This is what I love. A lot of times you can come in here and relieve all the stress off your body. I come in here and I’m free.

“I lost my dad earlier in life and I’m the youngest of five, so I need to be there for them. This is my opportunity to showcase my skills. Everyone else has used football or the military to get out of Havelock (N.C., his hometown) and I’m taking this route.”

And Bowman believes he has two tools that will help him accomplish his goals:

“Believe in yourself and trust in God,” he said.

He is well aware of what his situation would be if he gets drafted or even invited to an NBA camp.

“You aren’t going to come in and be a star,” he said. “So you have to do the things that are going to get you on the floor, especially from the defensive standpoint. Coming out here, my defensive role is my biggest task.”

“In the NBA, you’re switching one through five,” he said. “On defense, I’m trying to show my toughness. And on offense, show that I can conduct the floor.”

Bowman still has two workouts left. Is he tired?

“When you’re in the process and you love basketball, you just do it,” he said. “Those guys who get tired, they don’t love it as much.”