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Portland Trail Blazers draft preview: 5 NBA Draft targets

The Portland Trail Blazers enter the offseason with a roster in need of upgrades, and they hope to do part of that work with their valuable selections in the 2023 NBA Draft.

For the third time in the last four seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers finished with a losing record and missed out on reaching the NBA playoffs for a second straight year. Head coach Chauncy Billups had had a rough go of it over his first two seasons, but there was some progress in year two of his program.

The team won six more games, former first-round pick Anfernee Simons had a breakout year, and 2022 top selection Shaedon Sharpe showed the promise that made him the seventh pick overall last year.

Related: NBA Draft rumors – Latest information leading up to the 2023 event

With two members of their roster being prospects out of the annual event, the Portland Trail Blazers will look to strike gold again with their two first-round picks in June, which includes the third pick overall.

If the organization does not flip the pick in a trade for an impact veteran before then — which has been rumored since the NBA Draft Lottery — let’s take a look at the team’s picks in the draft and which elite prospects they are likely to target on June 22.

Portland Trail Blazers picks in 2023 NBA Draft

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Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the Trail Blazers’ draft picks for the annual event in Chicago on June 22.

  • 1st round, 3rd pick
  • 1st round, 23rd (via New York) pick
  • 2nd round, 43rd (via Atlanta) pick

Portland Trail Blazers targets in NBA Draft 2023

Scoot Henderson, G-League Ignite, Point guard

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Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

When the Portland Trail Blazers are on the clock at three, many expect the pick will be G-League Ignite star Scoot Henderson. A player that likely will be the heir apparent to team legend Damian Lillard.

Henderson is similar to Sharpe in that he has all the physical tools you want at point guard but still has some rough edges in his game that need to be smoothed out and developed. On day one, he has the ability to be an impact player in the paint and around the basket similar to Grizzlies star Ja Morant.

His shooting and overall ability to run an NBA offense will be the work-in-progress areas that will eventually separate him from being a good to a great player at the next level.

Brandon Miller, Alabama, Forward

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Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

There is a real chance that the Charlotte Hornets decide Scoot Henderson is their man and take him with the second pick in the NBA Draft. If that did occur, the player the team will likely pick next is Alabama star, Brandon Miller.

Miller is a player that has an offensive game that is ready-made to be a contributor in the NBA right away. He has the ability to beat defenders of various sizes, has a rock-solid jumper, and has good range. Furthermore, he isn’t too bad defensively and could be coached up to be an impact wing on both sides of the ball.

Like many young players, consistency will be his biggest issue. He could be a nice third or fourth option on most teams, but his potential is to be a high-level scorer in the league akin to players like DeMar DeRozan.

Amen Thompson, Guard/Forward, Overtime Elite

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Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While many NBA Draft experts assume Miller and Henderson will go immediately after French phenom Victor Wembanyama, the Portland Trail Blazers could break away from those assumptions and take Overtime Elite star, Amen Thompson.

Thompson is a fantastic athlete that is well-rounded and can do a little bit of everything. He has the athletic gifts to be an elite superstar, but if he can’t develop his shot to be a consistent weapon for him he may have a ceiling. Nevertheless, he can be a valuable player still in today’s NBA.

Kris Murray, Iowa, Forward

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Credit: USA Today Network

While the Portland Trail Blazers plan to retain Jermai Grant, that isn’t a guarantee. With their second pick in the first round, they could look to fill his spot with Iowa talent Kris Murray. The brother of Keegan Murray is a talented scorer who is also a strong rebounder, especially on the offensive boards.

His long-range shot is still a work in progress and is the one piece that could help take his game to an All-Star level if the Trail Blazers staff can develop it further.

Tristan Vukcevic, Center, KK Partizan

In the second round, the Portland Trail Blazers could look for depth at the five and that is why Serbian big man Tristan Vukcevic could be an option. If he is still on the board when they are on the clock at 43, he definitely has the game that matches what is popular with big men in today’s NBA.

His athleticism and size are similar to players like Mo Bamba and Bam Adebayo and he is a versatile for a 6-foot-11 talent.

2023 Portland Trail Blazers mock draft

  • 1st round, 3rd pick – Scoot Henderson, Forward, G-League Ignite
  • 1st round, 23rd (via New York) pick – Kris Murray, Forward, Iowa
  • 2nd round, 43rd (via Atlanta) pick – Tristan Vukcevic, Center, Serbia
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