The Trail Blazers used the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to pick Shaedon Sharpe on Thursday night. Sharpe has tremendous upside. I like the pick and think the Trail Blazers got this right.
General manager Joe Cronin traded for Jerami Grant on Wednesday, then added a high-flying, 6-foot-6 inch player in the draft. Sharpe didn’t play last season at Kentucky after being reclassified, but he practiced with the college team and NBA scouts salivated.
Sharpe has no recent proof of performance. It’s possible Portland just drafted a player who might have been picked No. 1 or No. 2 overall with a full college season of competition behind him. It’s also possible that Sharpe has some flaws in his game that weren’t exposed by competition. We’ll soon see.
Some bullet points on Sharpe:
No. 1 player in the 2022 high-school class.
“He’s a high-wire act,” per ESPN’s @JayBilas.
I don’t want to get swept into draft-day hysteria here. But this pick makes sense to me in the same way the drafting of Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy) made sense for Portland in 2018. There’s some big room here for Sharpe to grow. He turned 19 in May. And I’m eager to see what he’s capable of doing.
I have questions about why Sharpe didn’t play late in Kentucky’s season. The Wildcats were stumbling and needed improved perimeter play. He could have really helped John Calipari’s team. But Sharpe’s handlers didn’t want him thrown on the court, where he might have a poor game and hurt his draft status. Decide for yourself if that’s a red flag. I’m choosing to view it as a sign of the times… for now.
My expectations for the Blazers next season are simple — be entertaining and fun again. We spent the last year watching the franchise shed contracts and tank for the draft. Damian Lillard (abdominal surgery) was injured. It was a dud of a season.
I know fans want the franchise to win big, but first, Portland has to get some traction. I think the roster remains a couple of good roster moves away from being a top-five team in the Western Conference. But I like the trajectory and momentum of the last week.
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The NBA has the greatest player development system in the world, the ncaa. I don't get why teams and players don't use it.
Sharpe is a good risk. The Trail Blazers need to take gambles at this point if they want to make a big leap forward.