Analyzing the Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA Draft Picks

The Portland Trail Blazers had the 15th, 20th, and 26th picks in the draft. However, they traded #15 and #20 to the Sacramento Kings for the rights to Zach Collins, the 10th overall pick.

Pick #10, Round 1: Zach Collins - PF/C - Gonzaga

Though he only saw limited action in his one year at Gonzaga, Collins has tremendous potential as a stretch 4 to space the floor around Jusuf Nurkic, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum. He can also give Portland minutes at the center position while Nurkic sits (or if Nurkic leaves for free agency), as he is a capable rim protector (6 blocks against South Carolina in the Final Four) and rebounder. He can play down low too- Collins doesn’t shy away from contact and has a nice array of go-to post moves. He’s not much of a facilitator, but the Blazers won’t ask him to do much of that while he plays next to Lillard, an electric playmaker. 

Pick #26, Round 1: Caleb Swanigan - PF/C - Purdue

Portland decided to go all out and revamp their frontcourt, acquiring Collins and drafting Swanigan, another big who can stretch the floor. Swanigan played power forward at the collegiate level, but given his lack of explosiveness, he profiles as a small ball center at the next level. Swanigan was one of the best rebounders in the NCAA last year, pulling down over 12 boards per game. Similar to Collins, the Purdue big man can stretch the floor, shooting 44% from beyond the arc last year. Despite his perimeter shooting prowess, he has a hard time creating off the dribble due to his size and below average athleticism. Defensively, he looks like a liability- too slow to guard power forwards, but not big enough to defend centers. Still, having a big man able to ferociously crash the boards and step out to hit the 3 is a valuable weapon in a team's arsenal, exactly why Portland took the floor-spacing Swanigan at the back end of the first round. 


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