2023 Mock Draft 2.0: Spurs roll the dice, Hornets win Wembanyama sweepstakes
Portland is back at the podium after selecting Scoot Henderson at #2 overall earlier in the draft, and keeping with their theme of otherworldly athleticism, I have the Trail Blazers giving Henderson a freakishly athletic pick-and-roll partner in F.C. Barcelona’s James Nnaji. While Henderson would serve as Damian Lillard’s successor, Nnaji would serve as a replacement for the aging Jusuf Nurkic and would provide the team with a completely different dynamic in the paint.
Nnaji is the first player in this mock draft that was not featured in our first mock draft of the season, but make no mistake: Nnaji stands a good chance of being selected in the first round based on his production in a professional league that often does not leave any room in rotations for developmental minutes. In his 24 Liga ACB games that he’s played—only averaging just over 12 minutes per game—Nnaji put up 4.8 points, 3 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game.
With Portland, Nnaji would likely serve primarily as an aggressive rebounder and play-finisher on offense, but he has very real potential to be a defensive anchor in the paint with a bit of switchability on the perimeter. He’s impressively mobile for his massive 6’10”, 225-pound frame (at only 18 years old no less), times blocks impeccably well, and has a motor that almost never stops.