PORTLAND — Armed with three first-round picks and some assets on their roster, the Portland Trail Blazers had the potential to make some significant changes to their team with a trade or even trades. And lo and behold the Blazers actually did make a deal.
But instead of trimming their roster, the Blazers decided to combine two of their picks to move up in the Draft in order to select a “franchise-level building block” in Gonzaga big man Zach Collins with the No. 10 pick. Portland then continued to add yet another big man to their roster by selecting Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan with the No. 26 pick.
The selection of Collins came to a surprise to many, especially for him as he did not come to Portland for a workout before the Draft.
“I was surprised I was going to be the tenth pick,” Collins said via a conference call with the Portland media. “And then when I found I got traded to Portland, I was a little shocked.”
Collins’ shock was similar to Portland’s once they found out they could actually draft him after they traded the 15th and 20th picks to the Kings for the No. 10 selection. Despite not working out in person, Portland had Collins high on their draft board and once they saw who was going where, they leapt at the opportunity to trade up and select the Gonzaga big man.