ESPN’s Mike Schmitz has steadily become one of the most well-respected draft analysts in the NBA media, and it appears that respect goes beyond fans and colleagues, as the Portland Trail Blazers want him to help run their scouting department.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Schmitz is finalizing a deal to become the Blazers new assistant general manager to Joe Cronin, overseeing their scouting operation domestically and overseas.
ESPN’s NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz is finalizing a deal to become an assistant GM with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Schmitz will play a significant role with new GM Joe Cronin in leading the Blazers’ domestic and international scouting departments.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 27, 2022
Schmitz had become the lead draft analyst at ESPN, popping up on everything from SportsCenter to college basketball game coverage, and of course the draft night show itself. Some of his best work came in the video breakdowns he would do with the prospects themselves, sitting down and going over film with prospective draftees, allowing them to break down their game — strengths and weaknesses — and talk about what they were working on.
The Blazers currently hold the No. 7 pick, but are expected to trade that for a veteran, meaning its unclear exactly what the immediate impact of Schmitz will be for this draft cycle. Still, it’s a major move for Schmitz to step into a front office and a big loss for NBA fans who had grown to appreciate his perspective and insight on the draft throughout the year.