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2 bold predictions for Shaedon Sharpe in his rookie season with Blazers

Trail Blazers, Shaedon Sharpe

Shaedon Sharpe is headed to the NBA after being drafted seventh overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 6-foot-5, 19-year-old Sharpe was the 2022 NBA Draft’s man of mystery. He didn’t play at all in college yet showed enough in high school and showcases for teams to see him as one of the top prospects in the draft. His scoring abilities and unreal athleticism make him a highlight reel while his defensive potential and untapped playmaking skills could make him even more.

Although he is heading to a team wanting to win now and is jumping up several levels of competition at once, the young wing has what it takes to blossom into a star and become a key player in just his first year. Here are a pair of bold predictions for Shaedon Sharpe’s rookie season with the Trail Blazers.

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2 bold predictions for Shaedon Sharpe in his rookie season with Blazers

2. Sharpe starts the year in the G League

The Blazers drafting Sharpe gives them an ace in the hole for the future. The reason is not only because of his potential but because he will likely be extremely raw coming out of the gate. It would be a bit out-there for Portland to send him to the G League right away. It would be in the interest of both sides though.

After not playing competitive basketball for over a year and then moving on to the highest league in the world, Sharpe needs to be tuned up. He injured his left shoulder during the Summer League, though it doesn’t seem like anything that will hamper him long-term. Regardless, it’s an inadvertent sign that Sharpe is still very raw and has to be eased into professional basketball.

The G League has been a valuable resource for young players who need reps. Sharpe is certainly in need of those and will get one against fringe NBA players and the best starts from college basketball.

Starting Sharpe off slowly will benefit Portland. Taking it one step at a time is key with any rookie but especially one with Sharpe’s playing history.

1. Sharpe eventually gets starting minutes

Once Sharpe spends some time getting reps in the G League, he will likely be used off the bench. However, he has the skills that would make him a solid starting option along with Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic.

The appeal with Sharpe is that he has the athletic pop and on-ball skills to eventually become a strong scorer — a walking bucket, if you will. For the time being, though, he will have to find a role that helps the Blazers win.

Sharpe has shown a willingness to cut, rebound and move without the ball in the past. With the passing abilities of Lillard and Nurkic at his disposal, Sharpe will have all the incentive to find open spots in or above the defense. He could become one of the league’s most exciting dunkers right away.

Chauncey Billips may not play Sharpe in the starting lineup this season since Portland’s urgency to make the playoffs is massive. For someone so young and inexperienced, it makes sense. However, Sharpe has the talent to command such a role.

Most players who get G League time don’t become starters in their first year. Sharpe is different, as evidenced by the unconventional route he took to get here. The Blazers’ key rookie has a combination of raw potential and clear complementary skills that could allow him to have a big role later in the season.