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SB Nation Mock Draft: The Portland Trail Blazers select Robert Upshaw

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Blazers select Robert Upshaw from the University of Washington


Kevin: Upshaw has the NBA body already, not sure about his mental makeup though.  He's primarily a paint scorer and I don't expect him to develop a jumper or anything like that in the near future that will make him a threat to step away from the hoop.  He scores with great efficiency around the hoop, a lot like a DeAndre Jordan type.

Could he develop into an NBA starter?  I don't think so and I honestly think some seasoning the in D-League is what is best for him.

Taylor: The Blazers seem to have taken the mantle of drafting big men every year to put next to their stud power forward. Robin Lopez is a solid NBA player, but he's no superstar. Myers Leonard is a fringe starter at best. Upshaw has the potential to be a star, but also has the potential to be a ticking time bomb. If he had his head on straight, Upshaw could be a lottery pick. As it stands now, he has been dismissed from two different programs for extra curricular activities and money tends to worsen those kinds of actions. However, Upshaw has been working with a life coach and is doing his best to turn his life around. If he can, the Blazers get a steal here in the Huskies' all time blocked shots leader.

Dontae: Apparently it’s true when they say that length will always have a place in the NBA. Upshaw, dismissed from two separate universities, has found a home down the street in Portland. He’s either going to be out of the league in two years or he’s going to be a beast. This is the ultimate boom-or-bust pick for the Blazers.

He is a beast on defense, averaging 4.5 blocks per game before he was dismissed from the Huskies. Opponents shot 38% from the floor when he was on the court for the UW. He excels on the boards, and was DeAndre Jordan in the paint finishing attempts (75%).

On the other hand, he’s not much of anything outside of 5 feet, even shooting 43% from the charity stripe. He would be an upgrade skill-wise for what the Blazers need in the middle (even over Robin Lopez), but it would take some time for him to reach his potential. I ultimately don’t believe in Upshaw, maybe he has some redeeming qualities, but I just don’t see it.

Lucas: Robert Upshaw from Washington is arguably a top five talent in this draft, and may have something to say to me for anointing Willie Cauley-Stein the best defender in this draft. He averaged 4.5 blocks per game during his 19 games last season, which led the nation at the time. At 7’0" and 255 pounds, Upshaw is an intimidating presence, and that is before you even factor in his 7’5.5" wingspan and his jumping ability. Upshaw also has impressive foot speed for his height, as he is able to cover the entire paint with relative ease.

Offensively, Upshaw possesses a nice right handed hook shot, and also has a passable fadeaway, but he scores the majority of his points by pinning the defense close to the hoop and dunking. He also has great hands and is able to catch lobs, and is fast enough to beat his defender in transition and score. The main concern with Upshaw is his off the court issues, as he was dismissed from the Washington Huskies team after violating team rules. Upshaw is certainly a gamble, he is an athlete with incredible timing on defense and a nice touch on offense, but is also unreliable, and it is hard to know if past issues are truly in the past. Drafting him in the first round (thereby giving him a guaranteed contract) could come back to haunt the Blazers,  but they are desperate for front court depth, and if Upshaw can stay out of trouble, he has a chance to be one of the best true centers Portland has had  in a long, long time.