NBA draft grades: Trailblazers get positive feedback on Sharpe selection

The Portland Trail Blazers surprised many by actually using the seventh pick last night, signing Shaedon Sharpe from Kentucky.

Pundits weighed in on young general manager Joe Cronin’s selection of the inexperienced 19-year-old, who sports a series of question marks.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor felt Sharpe’s pick was the best, giving the Blazers an A+, which correlates with the young Canadian’s cap.

Sharpe might be risky in the short term, but this is a huge win for the Blazers. Portland was rumored to be buying this election and Sharpe could still move, but he offers a huge upside bet for Portland. He has an extremely high ceiling and could have been in the running for top pick if he hadn’t been in Kentucky last season. He may not help the Blazers win games in 2022-23, but over the long term he could be the top scorer in this draft.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish gave the Blazers a B+ for selection, noting Sharpe’s perceived high potential.

This selection is interesting because it shines with that Jerami Grant Trade the Blazers are now trying to make good. And Sharpe fits in interestingly from that perspective. But few players in this class have higher ceilings than him. He’s an explosive goalscorer with ridiculous size for wing and athletics, and he could be a plus defender one day with those tools. He probably isn’t ready to do that right away after not playing in Kentucky last season.

Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek labels Cronin a B and asks how long it will be before Sharpe can actually contribute.

Sharpe is the draft’s biggest question mark and will need extra time to adjust to the NBA’s pace and distance after not logging a single minute in Kentucky. If the Trail Blazers are patient, Sharpe might have landed in the perfect position playing alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in backcourt.

Kyle Irving of The Sporting News said the Blazers’ effort was worth a B+ for Sharpe and Jabari Walker’s draft 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 meet in their lottery picks? Spicy. The Kentucky Guard is a prolific goalscorer who will receive invaluable mentorship from Lillard. Portland added a player who can attack immediately from the bench from Day 1.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley gave Portland a B for the pick and questioned what timeline the Blazers were working on.

Interesting. The Blazers, who need as much win-now talent as anyone to quickly transition 31-year-old Damian Lillard, just handed out a top-10 pick for someone who hasn’t played a game in a year. Then again, they also just caught someone with a sky-high ceiling on either end, so it’s hard to complain. This design’s mystery man, Sharpe, has 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 effortless shooter.

Still, he could face a steep learning curve in the league as both his grip and shot selection need plenty of seasoning. If all goes well with his development, he could become a top scorer, involving his teammates and holding his own defensively. The boldness of the blazers here is commendable. If there was a way to spend this pick without losing trading value, this was probably the way to go since Sharpe has such tremendous potential.

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell acknowledged Sharpe’s unknowns but gave Portland a B+ for physical ability.

Sharpe is the mystery man of this class, having enrolled midseason in Kentucky as the next year’s #1 recruit and choosing not to play. He has a great frame for a shooting guard at almost 6ft 6 and a wingspan of 7ft. He has ridiculous jumping skills and can play well over the edge. He also has a soft touch from three-point range. What else does Sharpe do? Who knows. His NBA debut will mark a full year since his last game. There will be big questions about Sharpe’s feel for the game, how he translates defensively and what kind of passer he is. It seemed he too often settled for hard shots against the high school level, even when those shots often went in. Still, we give this choice a high mark because of Sharpe’s tools. Eventually, with the right amount of patience and development, Sharpe can be a really good player at things you can’t teach him. This is a nice upswing for the Blazers, albeit a risky pick.

Now that we’ve heard from everyone else, what’s your grade on the Sharpe recommendation?

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