The NBA Draft is coming up, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and targets. Today, the Portland Trail Blazers will be evaluated.
The Portland Trail Blazers had a successful 2018-2019 season, securing the third seed in the West with 53 wins. In the first round, Damian Lillard eliminated the Thunder in legendary fashion, and Portland then beat a tough Nuggets team in seven games. The Blazers were swept by the Warriors in their first Conference Finals appearance since 2000.
Portland has been searching for the third piece to the puzzle behind their star backcourt of Lillard and CJ McCollum. This season, they may have found it in center Jusuf Nurkic. Before going down with injury, Nurkic averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Headed into next season, the Blazers should look to bolster their depth around those three players.
The Trail Blazers have one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 25
Small forward- Small forward is the position that the Blazers lack depth at the most. Finding a good two-way wing would be a smart draft choice for Portland with their one draft pick.
Defense- While ranked third offensively last year, the Blazers ranked 16th in defense, allowing 110.5 points per game. They could particularly use some perimeter defending, as Portland’s opponents shot 36 percent from three last season.
First Round, Pick No. 25- Matisse Thybulle, G/SF, Washington
Matisse Thybulle doesn’t have very good offensive numbers, but his defense is what would make him a great fit for Portland at pick number 25.
Thybulle, a senior, averaged only nine points on limited attempts for the Huskies last season. Instead, he was the defensive motor for his team, who would earn the best record in Pac-12.
Thybulle averaged a whopping 3.5 steals last season, as well as 2.3 blocks per game. At 6-foot-5, Thybulle may be a bit undersized at the small forward spot, but he is primed to be able to lockdown swingmen in the West.
Taking one of the best defenders in the draft could be a huge pick for Portland, unless another team steals him first.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.