Colorado forward Jabari Walker selected by Portland in 2022 NBA Draft
Jabari Walker’s decision to jump to the NBA after a standout season with Colorado paid off Thursday night, though he was probably sweating it down the stretch.
The Portland Trail Blazers used the 57th pick in the second round to select Walker—their only second-round draft choice on the evening after a series of trades swapped picks around earlier in the round. The 6-foot-9 second-year forward initially chose to maintain his collegiate ability when he first declared for the draft back in late March, but ultimately decided to keep his name in the pool past the deadline to return to school.
With the Blazers, he’ll look to play his way into a future deal likely through Summer League and preseason camp.
Said Blazers GM Joe Cronin, per The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress: “He is a player that is really intriguing to us because of his mix of youth, size, length, shooting upside. We’re excited to get him here and develop him.”
#RipCity x @jabari521 ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/WiUOd6teJi
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) June 24, 2022
Walker was wonderful for the Buffs last season, leading the Pac-12 in rebounds at 9.4 a game and finishing fourth in the league in scoring at 14.6 a night.
He earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors after recording 17 double-doubles and 16 games with at least 15 points in 33 starts. Walker shot 46% from the field for the season while showing off some touch from beyond the arc. On more than three attempts a game from 3-point range, Walker connected on 35% of his triples this season. Among Pac-12 players, he ended the year seventh in PER.
Walker flashed real potential as a next-level scorer in the Pac-12 Tournament, where he scored 18 points to help beat Oregon in CU’s opening game and then scored 19 points on wicked hot 5-of-6 shooting from 3 to nearly unseat Arizona in the tournament semis.
That kind of shooting carrying over to the NBA will serve Walker well. With his potential on the boards, if Walker can threaten defenses as a perimeter shooter, he could carve out a nice role for himself in the league.
Summer League action begins on July 7, with Portland taking on Detroit. The Blazers also selected guard Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft.