Trail Blazers Ratings: Sharpe, Lillard, Durant, Free Agency

Trail Blazers Ratings: Sharpe, Lillard, Durant, Free Agency

Shaedon Sharpe required more extensive scouting than the other top prospects in Thursday’s draft, but the Trail Blazers are confident they made the right decision, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. Because Sharpe never played after enrolling at Kentucky, general manager Joe Cronin looked for a game movie of him in international competitions and all he could find. Cronin was sold to Sharpe after bringing him to Portland for a 3-on-3 practice.

“Shaedon is an incredible talent” Cronin said. “We are really excited about his future. It was a unique situation with Shaedon where he didn’t play college basketball. So he hasn’t been seen or rated as much as a lot of these other guys. But we were lucky to have a pretty good base built on Shaedon from our past viewings, especially some of the new people we hired who had seen it a bit.

Cronin was referring to the new assistant general manager mike schmitz, who knew Sharpe very well from his former role as an ESPN draft analyst. Sharpe fills a need for the Blazers, who were looking for an athletic wing that can score, and the 19-year-old gave Portland fans a taste of what to expect.

“I’m a guy who likes to attack the rim, make mistakes, finish over the rim, also involve my teammates and really just shoot the 3,” he said. “Just an impact on the game.”

There is more Portland:

  • The Blazers have been torn between Sharpe and the G League guard Dyson Daniels with pick n°7, and Damien Lillard seems to have influenced the final decision, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Lillard was impressed with Sharpe during his two visits to Portland, and the front office made numerous calls to Kentucky staffers to check his background.
  • Lillard caused a stir on social media today when he posted a retouched image on Instagram of himself and Kevin Durant both wearing Trail Blazers uniforms. Rumors that Durant could be on the move have been swirling since reports of a contract standoff between the Nets and Kyrie Irving.
  • While the Blazers seem to have improved after this week’s draft and trade against Jerami Grant, Cronin understands there’s still a long way to go to become a contender again, according to The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress. Portland plans to have the mid-level nontaxpayer exception, as well as a semi-annual exception worth about $4 million, two small business exceptions, and negotiable wages in Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart and Justise Winslow. “The next step is to stay on the path” Cronin said. “We try to be really aggressive. We know we’re not good enough. We want to keep trying to improve. It therefore continues to meet these needs. The draft is a big day of trading, but it’s not the end of the day for trading.

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