Undrafted LSU forward Trendon Watford has signed a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday night.
The news was confirmed shortly thereafter by Watford and his representation, Wasserman Media Group.
Watford, a top-20 player in the high school class of 2019, spent two seasons in Baton Rouge before turning pro. After earning SEC All-Freshman honors during his debut campaign with the Tigers, Watford averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a sophomore, being named First Team All-SEC and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament.
A middling perimeter shooter and overall athlete, Watford compensated offensively at LSU with a herky-jerky off-dribble game, awesome touch from floater range and underrated court vision. He was used as both a screener and ball handler in pick-and-roll, evidence of his versatility and keen overall feel for the game on full display during a 30-point outing in the SEC championship game against heavily-favored Alabama.
Measuring a hair below 6-foot-9 with a wingspan over 7-foot-2 at the draft combine, Watford has ideal positional length for a power forward. Though he ranked below average in every athletic test in Chicago, Watford’s weight of 237 pounds at least allows for the possibility of improved explosiveness and agility once he gets into better shape.
Every team in the league wants a playmaking big who can occupy multiple roles offensively. What caused Watford to slide out of the draft altogether are major concerns about his ability to tighten his jumper and how he fits in defensively at the next level given his lack of quick-twitch athleticism. If he doesn’t eventually shoot threes at a reasonable and find a way to contribute on defense, it won’t be worthwhile for the Blazers to afford Watford the on-ball offensive latitude that really makes his game go.