The Portland Trail Blazers Swing in the 2022 NBA Draft. When Adam Silver announced Shaydon Sharp as the franchise man with the seventh pick, some were delighted, some confused, some disappointed while others had no idea what he was thinking.
The mystery surrounding the 19-year-old didn’t help when he sustained an injury during the first six minutes of Portland’s Summer League Championship campaign. But aside from all that, what if, in fact, Sharpe was actually all he was promoting, perhaps even matching the hype in his first season? That’s right, we’re inclined to be optimistic about Blazer’s Edge today.
I know there are a lot of skeptics and that’s okay. You have every right to have your doubts, but I give my doubts to Joe Cronin and Mike Schmitz.
What do we know about Seddon Sharp?
- He is a 6’6, 19-year-old male athlete from London, Ontario, Canada.
- He went to Kentucky for a year but did not play.
- There are two YouTube clips showing him battling a sub-par competition.
- The Portland Trail Blazers picked him with the seventh pick in June.
- He played five minutes in the summer league before suffering a left shoulder injury.
That’s pretty much it.
Well, why did the Blazers take him to this degree?
Well, first, he worked twice with the Blazers before the draft. You had to imagine that the second visit wouldn’t have happened if the front office wasn’t at least interested in his sporting profile and skill set.
Oh, and there’s also Schmitz. Widely recognized as one of the best assessors of talent in the business, Portland’s new assistant general manager was transferred from ESPN by the Blazers prior to the draft. And while he didn’t technically start with Portland until after draft night, you have to imagine he passed on his unique knowledge of prospect to Cronin.
Schmitz’s former classmate at ESPN Jonathan Jevoney talks about Sharpe Earlier this year, before he chose to ascend the project.
Sharpe is among the top five potential picks for 2022 NBA draft With his combination of modular frame with dynamic shot-making ability and explosive finishing ability, he regularly comes out with highlight, block and return caliber scales.
The Blazers clearly had enough information and confidence in Sharpe to seize the opportunity, despite their laundry list.
Will he play this season?
On draft night, Cronin faced the media in Portland, telling the Blazers fandom that Sharpe He was ready to play this next season.
This was evident before he was injured in the summer league but from all the reports, Sharp should be ready to go to training camp. However, with a predicament of experienced names in the two guard positions, the skinny 6’6’6, 198-pound Sharp will likely have to find a little time forward behind Nasser Little. Camp and prep should reflect how prepared the young Canadian is, but I’d venture guesswork to suggest he gets about 10 minutes a night, at least during October and November.
Ultimately, there’s no way the Blazers could invest such a valuable asset in Sharpe, if they don’t at least see if it hits the NBA level, as soon as possible.
What if it’s not good?
Okay, so we have to go down that path briefly. But last season’s tank might not have been worth it if Sharpe was knocked out of the league by the end of his first decade. I’m not interested. There is always a chance for this to happen and it is the risk we have been pleading for this franchise to take it for a decade. If he’s not an NBA player, I’m happy to go ahead and acknowledge the fact that they, at the very least, tried to raise the roof of a team that left him stale for far too long.
What if it was really good?
This is the fun part.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that Sharp is the “Baby Cuban” coined by Brandon Sprague of Jacked Ramsays. But if he is able to show an innate ability relatively quickly on both sides of the ball, that raises some exciting possibilities about what this team could be, say, from the start of the 2023-24 season. I’m by no means seeing him start this season, but if he can come in as Little’s primary reserve, and work seamlessly alongside Josh Hart, Gary Payton II, Trendon Watford and Justis Winslow off the bench, the Blazers might have something.
If all goes as planned, you’re hoping he plays in a 16-17 minute world next night in March and April, averaging at least 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists while presenting a solid and reliable defense.
What does this mean for the future formation of this team?
Well, the picture is too big. If Sharpe cements himself as a starting level player (not necessarily a starter) by the end of Season 1, Cronin has options. listen to me.
Let’s say Sharpe shows so quickly that in the early stages of becoming a two-way partner back we’ve been wanting to pair up with Lillard since Wes Matthews tore up his Achilles and left for Dallas.
I love Anfernee Simons and am excited to see what he can do this season with a bigger role and more touches. But I, like many other basketball watchers, have doubts about his defensive ceiling. I really hope you prove me wrong.
But if Simons is enjoying another spike in production this season and is likely to enter the All Star selection discussion, he’s elevating his burgeoning commercial value to the point where he’s giving a serious promotion back to the young forward.
Now, if they don’t win the NBA championship next season, then Boston Celtics He might be willing to ditch Jaylen Brown in order to snag the more dominant Simons. Brown may really be sick of hearing his name in trade rumors, at which point he publicly declares that he will in no way return to New England in 2024. Michal Bridges is another name that jumps to mind as Phoenix Suns to decide whether to pay Cam Johnson in restricted free agency next year. Simons might also be a fitting replacement for Chris Paul, who this time next year, will be 38.
In this case, the Blazers can jog a lineup of Lillard, Sharpe, Brown/Bridges, Jerami Grant Extended, and Jusuf Nurkic. Assuming Lillard still has it, this roster is as balanced and versatile as the Blazers’ since Nicholas Batum, Matthews, and LaMarcus Aldridge were in town.
He more than makes up for Lillard’s defensive flaws while still being incredibly powerful. You still have Payton 2, Jabari Walker Little re-signed and Justice Winslow on the bench. We’re assuming Josh Hart has been dealt a deadline because the Blazers are unlikely to have the space to afford the wage increase he’ll almost certainly earn as his player option approaches in 2023.
Alternatively, Sharpe’s rise may be the decision-maker that signals the end of the Damian Lillard era in Portland with Al-Shabab taking over. Please don’t hurt me. By bringing back the choices and promising young talents of Lillard to play around Simons, the Sharpe backcourt also opens up interesting possibilities. You will have a starting unit of Simons, Sharpe, Little, Jabari Walker and a center to be selected. Not to mention the players who won the Lillard raffle.
I wouldn’t speculate about Lillard’s packages, because at this point it’s almost impossible to say what teams participating and what they would be willing to give up.
These are all fantasy land things. But now that Portland has a general manager willing to make the tough calls and take big swings, fantasy is a lot closer to reality than it was under the previous regime.
If Sharpe is as good as expected — I’m talking about someone who eventually has a chance of making an All Star game or two — the Blazers have a lot to work with. I have no doubt that the NBA world will have their eyes on the 19-year-old from the very first second lining up the Blazers this season, simply for the fact that he was sold as a potential franchise player without playing any real game. Basketball score.
I had my fingers crossed for the teen because I had nothing else to tell me if he was going to explode or collapse. But one thing is clear, Chauncey Billups needs to get it to court ASAP so we can make a decision one way or the other.