3 sleeper prospects for Blazers to target in 2022 NBA Draft

The Portland Trail Blazers were unlucky in the lottery after their 2021-22 rebuilding season. Her 27-55 record was the sixth worst in the NBA. They exited the draft lottery with the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. While most of the focus is on this first-round pick, the Trail Blazers also hold the 36th and 57th overall picks in the draft.

Making every selection in the draft is important, and in this draft there are several notable second-round prospects. While there are several great ways to target the 7th pick, Portland also needs to capitalize on its late-round picks. Finding a key element for rotation in the later rounds is a huge benefit to a company, both from a talent and salary cap perspective. Here are three names for the Trail Blazers to target in this year’s draft.

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3 sleeper prospects for Blazers to target in the 2022 NBA draft

Christian Koloko – Center Arizona

A huge, 7-foot-tall, 230-pound man, Christian Koloko has the size and skill to translate at the NBA level. He spent three seasons in Arizona and made a big step forward this year. Koloko averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 1.4 assists per game.

The big man plays with a relatively tall engine and is a formidable shot blocker. This is probably the biggest draw in his game. Its 7ft 4in wingspan deflects even more shots than it actually blocks. He can score from the post and finish plays over the edge on offense.

There are some changes that need to be made to his game, but everything is pretty much fixable. Koloko can be undisciplined on defense, occasionally leading to nasty troubles. He also has a tendency to hit the ball against the post. There is hope for his shooting as he increased his free throw percentage throughout college. The Arizona standout shot 73.5% of his free throws, which would be a huge advantage at the NBA level.

Though his ceiling isn’t that high, Koloko’s current production isn’t far off many of the centers who will leave the board in the first round and make a good NBA rotation piece. He’s modeled on a modern-day rim-riding Big Man and could make an immediate impact in a limited role.

Dalen Terry- Wings Arizona

Despite sharing the spot with Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko, there were periods when Dalen Terry was the most important player on Arizona’s roster. The shabby 6’6″ wing plays a hard-hitting style of basketball that would fit on any NBA team. Terry was a vocal leader on the team and looked massive defensively. He often led the show on offense, calling plays and swinging the ball around the perimeter.

While Koloko was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Terry also earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defense Team. He averaged 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals. His numbers aren’t amazing, but Terry’s impact is felt throughout. He does a little bit of everything for the team and brings energy to the highest level every night. Expect Terry to fit into the NBA as an impact defender making his presence felt. His 7 foot wingspan makes him very fickle defensively and he will hold his own in any matchup. Terry has no problem hitting the hardwood or picking up a guy all over the place. Expect him to impose himself on opponents and become an important bench piece on an NBA team moving forward.

Ron Harper Jr – Wing Rutgers

Ron Harper Jr., a four-year starter at Rutgers, quickly became a fan favorite. He has increased his scoring average every year and has been Rutgers’ top scorer for the past three seasons. In Harper Jr.’s senior year, he averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 steals. He’s been an up-and-down shooter but has scored 39.8% of his three-pointers this season. He is 6ft 5in tall and weighed 240lbs this season. The 7ft 1in wingspan he displayed offered some hope in his NBA fitness and defensive ability.

Harper Jr. is a skilled movement game shooter and has a willing trigger. He improved his efficiency this year by reducing his shot attempts while increasing his scoring average. He needs to lose a little weight and will struggle with faster players, but he’s competing incredibly hard.

Even with the oversize, the Rutgers product is an above-average athlete. It will be interesting to see how Harper Jr.’s throwback style carries over to the NBA level. While it may not be the prototype NBA wing, it brings with it an intriguing toughness and performance. He’s currently scheduled for a late second-round projection, and it would be a low-risk, high-reward pick to add him with that pick.

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