Nassir Little to Trail Blazers: Portland's Current Roster After 2019 NBA Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

North Carolina's Nassir Little passes against Iona in the second half during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers took a flier on potential Thursday and selected North Carolina's Nassir Little with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. 


The @trailblazers select Nassir Little with the No. 25 pick in the 2019 #NBADraft! https://t.co/xHwVjpuKgA

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Nassir off the board Blazers select Nassir Little with the No. 25 pick https://t.co/oMPKJhyAJU

Here's a look at how Little fits on Portland's roster.

Check out B/R NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman’s scouting profile on Little. 


Blazers' Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)

Anfernee Simons, SG: $2M (2022)

CJ McCollum, SG: $26.7M (2021)

Damian Lillard, PG: $28M (2021)

Evan Turner, SF: $17.5M (2020)

Gary Trent Jr., SG: $1.3M (2021)

Jusuf Nurkic, C: $12M (2022)

Maurice Harkless, SF: $10.5M (2020)

Meyers Leonard, C: $10.3M (2020)

Nassir Little, SF: $1.7M (2023)

Skal Labissiere, PF: $1.6M (2020)

Zach Collins, C: $3.6M (2021)


Free Agents

Al-Farouq Aminu, PF: UFA

Enes Kanter, C: UFA

Jake Layman, SF: RFA

Rodney Hood, SG: UFA

Seth Curry, SG: UFA

Little arrived at North Carolina as a 5-star prospect and the No. 3 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He was even ahead of Zion Williamson, ranked fifth, and figured to be a no-doubt one-and-done player who used his single collegiate season as a springboard to NBA stardom.

While he still entered the draft after his freshman season, it was a far more inconsistent year than his talent profile suggested.

He averaged 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists a night while shooting an ugly 26.9 percent from three-point range. Little still flashed his potential as a 6'6" combo guard who can light up the scoreboard at times, such as when he scored 20 points in an NCAA tournament win over Washington and 23 points in a high-profile ACC showdown against Virginia Tech.

However, those performances were few and far between, and he didn't even start a single game for the Tar Heels. That is partially a testament to their depth, but he will be competing with plenty of talent throughout his NBA career as well.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report projected Little as a first-round pick in an April mock draft, pointing to the fact he "will look better in workouts than he did at North Carolina" with a "tremendous physical profile."

However, Wasserman also suggested the teenager is one of the biggest potential busts of the draft because he wasn't a playmaker in college with low assist numbers, has shooting concerns and possesses a poor feel for the game on the offensive end.

Fortunately for the Trail Blazers, Little is just 19 with the physical profile to develop into an impact playmaker with time to develop. Portland will need to be patient, but there was a reason its newest draft pick was a 5-star prospect. He just may need a few years to reach his ceiling.

Although the Blazers have playoff aspirations in 2020, their wing depth will allow Little to make a gradual adjustment to the next level.