NBA Draft 2022 Rumors: Blazers' Damian Lillard 'High' on Shaedon Sharpe's Talent

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - FEBRUARY 12: Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during halftime against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

If Damian Lillard has his choice, Shaedon Sharpe will be a Portland Trail Blazer come Thursday.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN reported Lillard is "high" on Sharpe despite the two sharing completely different career timeframes. Sharpe is one of the youngest players in the 2022 draft class, having just turned 19 in May. Lillard turns 32 in July.

The Blazers have the No. 7 pick in the first round, which is around the time Sharpe could see his name come off the board. Portland has also been consistently linked to potential trades for veteran talent ahead of draft night, including some speculated trades Lillard appeared to like as well.

From a talent standpoint, it's easy to see the appeal of Sharpe. Originally one of the highest-rated prospects in the 2022 high school class, Sharpe graduated early and enrolled at Kentucky—seemingly with the idea of redshirting and then playing his freshman season in Lexington next season.

He instead decided to declare for the 2022 draft, leaving scouts without any college tape but a bevy of physical skills. Givony reported scouts came away impressed with Sharpe's pro day, particularly with his combination of length and athleticism at the 2-guard spot. Concerns remain about his experience and his shooting prowess, but there's arguably no player with a higher upside in the mid-lottery.

That said, the Blazers already have another promising young guard in Anfernee Simons and have Josh Hart on their roster. Adding Sharpe would create a bit of a logjam at the guard spots, though Simons is a restricted free agent and Hart could be trade fodder this offseason.

Portland spent much of last season stripping its roster to rebuild around Lillard, so what the team does with this pick will be an excellent indicator of where things are headed this summer.