4. Daniel Gafford
Height: 6’10.5”/ 7’2.25 wingspan
Weight: 238 pounds
With Jusuf Nurkic recovering from a broken leg, the Blazers might look to add a big guy to fill some minutes until he returns. They could add one for the veteran minimum in free agency, but adding Daniel Gafford in the draft gives them a player who can play right away and still has some upside.
Gafford is an athletic, mobile center who plays similar to rim-running bigs like JaVale McGee and Clint Capela. His rebounding, lob-catching and shot-blocking ability are all tools that can be used right away.
Gafford still needs to get stronger and work on his offensive game, but those are things that can be improved with an NBA training staff working with him. His physical tools and athleticism are things you can’t teach.
Portland could play Gafford at the center spot and pair him alongside Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard. He could become a lob threat in the pick-and-roll and give defenses a tough time when the Blazers put four shooters on the floor around him. Once Nurkic comes back, they’d have a reliable backup behind him who would bring a different element to the game.