PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers traded up to get another big man.
Portland, which had three first-round picks going into Thursday night’s NBA draft, dealt the No. 15 and No. 20 picks to the Sacramento Kings for the No. 10 pick, center Zach Collins out of Gonzaga.
The 7-footer, who played off the bench in his lone season with the Bulldogs, averaged 10 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Gonzaga went 37-2 last season, advancing all the way to the NCAA Tournament championship game against North Carolina.
Collins, 19, was Gonzaga’s first one-and-done player. For the draft at the Barclays Center in New York, he paid homage to his hometown with a blazer lining and shoes decorated with “Las Vegas” prints.
He found out about the trade “about 30 seconds” before he took the stage and donned a Kings hat, he said.
In return for Collins, Sacramento got the draft rights to small forward Justin Jackson out of North Carolina, the 15th overall pick, and Duke forward Harry Giles, the 20th.
Portland also took 6-foot-9 forward Caleb Swanigan out of Purdue with the 26th pick. The Big Ten Player of the Year averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds last season as a sophomore.
Collins said he can play at either the four or the five. He could be used in tandem with Jusuf Nurkic, a 6-foot-11 center who joined Portland in a February trade with Denver. Portland also has 7-footer Meyers Leonard, a four-year veteran of the team.
Collins didn’t mince words when it comes to what he thinks he can accomplish in his first year: “I don’t see why I can’t be Rookie of the Year.”
Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said…