Trail Blazers hiring ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz as assistant GM

ESPN NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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New Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin is building his staff.

It includes a familiar name and an unusual path.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Portland Trail Blazers are hiring ESPN’s NBA draft analyst Mike Schmitz as an assistant general manager, assigning him leadership of the franchise’s domestic and international scouting departments, sources told ESPN.

Schmitz is expected to remain with ESPN through the June 23 NBA draft, and formally begin his duties with Portland in July.

This is great for Schmitz and presumably the Trail Blazers. He does an excellent job evaluating prospects and clearly communicating his assessments.

However, it’s a loss for public draft analysis. ESPN bought out DraftExpress (where Schmitz worked with Jonathan Givony) five years ago, consolidating the two leading outlets for draft coverage into one. Now, ESPN’s coverage is weakened.

At least Schmitz will be around for the rest of this draft cycle. Given how many of his evaluations have already been published, it would’ve been awkward if he were suddenly deeply involved in Portland’s selections at Nos. 7, 36 and 57.