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Blazers draft scouting report: Tidjane Salaun

Could Portland select Tidjane Salaun with the no. 7 pick?

Portland Trail Blazers NBA Draft Tidjane Salaun profile scouting report

With the NBA Draft Lottery complete, the Blazers are holding pair of lottery picks in this month's NBA Draft. Portland owns the seventh and 14th picks in the 2024 NBA Draft.

This year's draft is considered to be a bit weak compared to recent years. There is certainly talent to be found, but there isn't considered to be a significant number of top-tier players available at the top of the draft. This means that, while a transcendent superstar may not be had, there are still quality rotation players to be found throughout the first round.

With the uncertainty surround this year's draft, there are multiple players in play for the Blazers with the seventh (and 14th) pick this month. One such player, French forward Tidjane Salaun.

Still 18 years old and not turning 19 until August, Salaun finds himself as one of the youngest players in the 2024 NBA Draft. At the same time, Salaun may just possess the most potential to turn into an everyday starter for the Blazers. Although he is still very raw, Salaun would provide an immediate boost in either forward position because of his length and defensive awareness.

Tidjane Salaun strengths

The 6-foot-9 Salaun has intrigued scouts with his combination of fluidity and shooting touch. He’s smooth in transition and when slashing to the basket, while he can also knock down looks from beyond the arc. He went a less-than-ideal 68-for-211 (32%) in 2023-24 but 61-for-168 (36%) in 2022-23 and 27-for-77 (35%) in 2021-22.

He has an impressive 7'2″ wingspan and hustles on defense, showing the desire it takes to improve on that end of the floor.

Tidjane Salaun weaknesses

At 18-years-old, Salaun is an incredibly raw player needing development time, particularly in decision-making and ball-handling. He's not a natural passer or creator for himself or others, with questionable shot selection

Salaun is instead mostly a finisher and he totaled only 44 assists to 64 turnovers last year. On defense, he isn’t a showstopper despite his wingspan and athleticism.

Tidjane Salaun fit with Blazers

Despite his high-upside project status, Salaun possesses the ideal size and perimeter skills for a modern NBA power forward. He is athletic and able to knock down jumpers with enough consistency to stretch the floor.

The Blazers – who currently have Jabari Walker, Toumani Camara, and (to a degree) Kris Murray behind Jerami Grant as the power forward's of the future – may be intrigued by Salaun's potential. While he likely won't make a big impact immediately, his age and projected growth track match up well with the Blazers' timeline.

But it's unknown if Salaun will be available at no. 7. There may be no other player in this year's NBA Draft that has as much variance in his expected draft-range than Salaun. It wouldn't be shocking to see him go in the top 5. It also wouldn't surprise to see him fall to around no. 15.

The Blazers have the seventh and fourteenth picks in the NBA Draft on June 26.