The Portland Trail Blazers selected UConn center Donovan Clingan with the no. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday, and to hear Portland GM Joe Cronin tell it, they got their man.

The Blazers' GM spoke to the media after the first day of the NBA Draft was completed, and he explained his reasoning for selecting Clingan, per Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report.

Said Cronin, “Our scouts were all over him a year ago. They loved him as a freshman. When the lottery played out the way it did, we thought there might be a chance [he was there].”

The Blazers must really love Clingan, as they already have three centers on the roster. Each brings a slightly different skillset to the table however. Deandre Ayton is athletic as heck, but instead thrives in the pick-and-pop and seems almost averse to getting to the free throw line. Robert Williams III is a more mobile defensive anchor who succeeds with positioning but can't be counted on to play a full – or even half – season due to chronic knee issues. And Duop Reath stretches the floor out to the 3-point line to punish defenders helping off of him as Portland's guards penetrate into the paint.

Cronin addressed the overlap at the five for the Blazers, again per Highkin, who shared on social media, “Joe Cronin on drafting Clingan with Ayton and Timelord already in place: ‘We're building a competitive culture. We want guys to come in and earn their spots.' Says they're still in “talent acquisition mode” and weren't as worried about positional overlap.”

Evaluating Joe Cronin and the Blazers' Donovan Clingan pick

The Blazers were a very poor shooting team last season, and they decided to pass on drafting a player at a position/skillset of need to take what they feel was the best player on the board. This makes a lot of sense considering that the Blazers aren't a player or two away. They need talent everywhere on the floor, so if they believe that Clingan is the biggest difference maker in the draft, it's wise to draft him and figure the roster out later.

It would have made a lot more sense earlier in the day if the Blazers had selected Cody Williams or Ron Holland with the no. 7 pick, but once Portland traded Malcolm Brogdon and multiple picks for forward Deni Avdija, the likelihood of Clingan being selected by the Blazers went up significantly. It wouldn't have been shocking if Portland had even moved up a couple of spots in order to secure Clingan. Butat the end of the day, they didn't need to deal in order to get their man.

Clingan starts next season in the rotation as the firm backup unless Ayton is somehow dealt in the offseason. He should provide the Blazers with a major jolt of rim protection and defensive rebounding. While his offense isn't exactly polished, there are suggestions that his shooting form is further along and better than some people give him credit for. If Clingan is able to develop any kind of face up move in addition to his throwback center skills, the move could be a home run.