After a series of questionable moves in free agency last summer, Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey stepped up with a power move in the 2017 NBA Draft, trading picks 15 and 20 to the Sacramento Kings to select Gonzaga center Zach Collins with the tenth pick. Instead, they traded the No. 15 and No. 20 overall picks for the 10th pick from Sacramento.
When Zach Collins was 14 years old, he fired up create-a-player career mode on an National Basketball Association video game.
"I was surprised that I was going to be the 10th pick", said Collins, who averaged 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in one season at Gonzaga. The Trail Blazers want to see what exactly they have in Nurkic, who they traded for with the division rival Denver Nuggets near the deadline.
His stock rose in the NCAA Tournament this year where he got his first career double double in the Final Four with 14 points and 13 rebounds to go with six blocked shots. Could the Blazers use one or two of their picks in a salary dump?
The Blazers' winningest starting lineup included Lillard, McCollum, Nurkic and forwards Noah Vonleh and Maurice Harkless.
Shocked in part because, other than staying in downtown during the Bulldogs' January road game at the University of Portland and an interview at the combine with team officials, he hadn't been in touch with the Blazers during the predraft process.
Portland signed hefty contracts with Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe and Leonard previous year, and the team has the third-highest payroll in the league.