NBA draft prospect Chandler Hutchison of Boise State pulled out of the combine, which led some to believe he has a first-round promise.
One team that makes sense for Hutchison is the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that could use wing depth. Evan Turner and Moe Harkless don’t project as foundational wings of the future. It’s unconfirmed if Portland is interested in Hutchison, but this could be a good fit for both parties.
The 22-year-old averaged 20.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season. Not only did he lead the Mountain West Conference in scoring per game, he also had the highest Player Efficiency Rating and Defensive Rebound Percentage.
While he is one of the older players in the 2018 NBA Draft, that makes him even more likely to fit in with a team like the Blazers who are vying for more immediate success than a young, developing core. The organization has made the postseason five seasons in a row, fourth-best among all teams.
As noted by Erik Gunderson, it’s worth mentioning former Boise State associate head coach Phil Beckner worked with the wing for two years. Beckner worked directly with Portland star Damian Lillard when he played for Weber State in college.
Jake Fischer wrote about what Lillard saw from Hutchison when the NBA guard went to a Boise State game at the University of Oregon (via Sports Illustrated):
“He knocked down open jumpers. He relentlessly attacked the rim, converting 7 of his 10 attempts from the charity stripe. It was a moment, one that Damian Lillard relished. The Trail Blazers’ superstar chatted with Hutchison after the game, all 210 pounds of him. Hutchison was no longer the gangly sophomore Lillard met two summers prior.”
Lillard met with team owner Paul Allen in January 2018. According to Chris Haynes in a report on ESPN, one topic of conversation is that the guard wanted to know why they decided to trade Will Barton back in 2015.
Lillard reportedly did not agree with the decision. But drafting another wing in the first-round this year, especially one who he’s already connected with, could go a long way to keeping him happy.