The Portland Trail Blazers surprised many by actually using the seventh pick last night and taking Kentucky commit Shaedon Sharpe.
The pundits have weighed in on fledgling General Manager Joe Cronin’s selection of the inexperienced 19-year-old who carries a number of questions marks.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor thought highest of Sharpe pick, giving the Blazers an A+, which correlates with the young Canadian’s ceiling.
Sharpe might be risky in the short term, but this is a tremendous get for the Blazers. Portland was rumored to be shopping this pick and could still move Sharpe, but he provides a tremendous upside bet for Portland. He has an extremely high ceiling and could have been in the running to be the top pick if he hadn’t sat out last season at Kentucky. He may not help the Blazers win games in 2022-23, but long term he could be the best scorer in this draft.
Gary Parrish at CBS Sports handed the Blazers a B+ for the selection, pointing to Sharpe’s perceived high upside.
This pick is interesting because it seems with the Jerami Grant trade that the Blazers are trying to get good now. And Sharpe is an interesting fit from that perspective. But few players in this class have higher ceilings than him. He’s an explosive scorer with ridiculous size for the wing and athleticism, and he could one day be a plus defender with those tools. He’s just likely not ready to do that right away after not playing last season at Kentucky.
Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek marked Cronin with a B, asking how long it will be until Sharpe can actually contribute.
Sharpe is the biggest question mark of the draft and will need additional time to adjust to the NBA’s pace and spacing after not logging a single minute at Kentucky. If the Trail Blazers are patient, Sharpe might have ended up in the perfect situation playing alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in the backcourt.
Kyle Irving at The Sporting News said the Blazers’ efforts were worthy of a B+ for Sharpe and the drafting of Jabari Walker at pick 57.
The day before the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that All-Star guard Damian Lillard liked Sharpe’s potential. And who did the Blazers take with their lottery pick? Sharpe. The Kentucky guard is a prolific scorer who will receive invaluable mentorship from Lillard. Portland added a player who can provide instant offense off the bench from Day 1.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley gave Portland a B for the pick, questioning which timeline the Blazers were working to.
Interesting. The Blazers, who need as much win-now talent as anyone as they try to rapidly retool around 31-year-old Damian Lillard, just spent a top-10 pick on someone who hasn’t played a game in a year. Then again, they also just snagged someone with a sky-high ceiling at both ends, so it’s hard to complain. This draft’s mystery man, Sharpe never played a game for the Wildcats. That forced scouts and analysts to fire up footage from his high school days, where he dazzled as a dunker, shot-creator and effortlessly smooth shooter.
Still, he could face a steep learning curve in the league, as his handle and shot selection both need copious amounts of seasoning. If everything breaks right with his development, though, he could become a go-to scorer who keeps teammates involved and holds his own defensively. The boldness from the Blazers here is commendable. If there was a way to spend this pick and not have it lose trade value, this was probably the path, since Sharpe has such enormous potential.
Ricky O’Donnell at SB Nation acknowledged Sharpe’s unknowns but gave Portland a B+ on his physical abilities.
Sharpe is the mystery man of this class after enrolling at Kentucky midseason as next year’s No. 1 recruit and deciding not to play. He has a great frame for a shooting guard at nearly 6’6 with a 7-foot wingspan. He has ridiculous leaping ability, and can make plays way above the rim. He also has soft touch from three-point range. What else does Sharpe do? Who knows. His NBA debut will mark a full year since his most recent game. There will be major questions about Sharpe’s feel for the game, how he translates defensively, and what kind of passer he is. It sure seemed like he settled for tough shots too often against the high school level, even if those shots often went in. Still, we’re giving this pick a high grade because of Sharpe’s tools. With the right amount of patience and development, Sharpe can eventually be a really good player who does things you can’t teach. This is a nice upside swing by the Blazers even if it’s a risky pick.
Now that we’ve heard from everyone else, what grade do you give the Sharpe pick?