Maryland basketball's Jake Layman was selected with the No. 47 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday by the Portland Trail Blazers, just inside the range many had projected.
"On pick 45 on TV my agent called me and said 'It's a home run,'" said Layman. "I said, What do we got?' He said, 'Orlando's pick got traded to Portland and they really wanted you so you're going 47.'"
The Trail Blazers really wanted him. They didn't come in to the draft with a pick and he was acquired in a move which sent $1.2 million and a 2019 second round pick to the Orlando Magic.
It was no small trade for a team that hadn't even worked out Layman in the weeks leading up to the draft.
"I'd heard that they were very interested in me," said Layman. "I think just scheduling didn't work for workouts."
The willingness to part with cash and a future pick as well as Layman being the team's only selection on the night, gives reasonable hope that he'll be in position to make the team's final roster.
"It definitely gives a lot of confidence," said Layman. "It shows that they really wanted me, to put in that much work to get me. I think it's a great sign."
Layman recently told Testudo Times in an interview that he almost left Maryland after his junior season; he held out on his decision even longer than Melo Trimble, but a year made a difference in Layman's play.
"I think staying for that last year definitely helped me," said Layman. "Getting my degree was very important for me and my family so to be able to finish that out was huge. I definitely elevated my game to the next leave and put myself in a position to be drafted."
The fit in Portland is perfect for Layman, as the Trail Blazers are a known 3-point shooting team behind guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and fired the fourth most attempts per game of all teams last season. Layman's defensive abilities could also land him minutes behind another great defender in Al-Farouq Aminu.
"Jake is a high character young man with a skill set we value on both ends of the floor," Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a press release. "His ability to defend multiple positions and shoot the ball from range will be positive additions to our roster."
Portland surprised the league last year by advancing to the second round of the playoffs when most thought it was amidst a rebuild just a year after seeing four of its starters: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Mathews and Robin Lopez, find new homes.
With just seven players signed to their roster for next season, the Blazers will surely add talent in free agency, making Layman's position on the team hard to define this early. The Blazers also have decisions to make with restricted free agents Allen Crabbe and Maurice Harkless.
Regardless of how the rest of the roster fills out, Layman will eventually find his minutes. We can't know whether that will come at the beginning of the year or partway through the season, but when he gets his chance he'll be in a great position to prove his worth on a young team with playoff aspirations.