Trail Blazers Sign No. 43 Pick Rayan Rupert

The Trail Blazers have officially signed second-round pick Rayan Rupert to his first NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release.

Rupert, who just turned 19 in May, played for the New Zealand Breakers last season as part of the Next Stars program in Australia’s National Basketball League. A broken wrist limited him to 20 regular season games, in which he averaged 6.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG on 36.4% shooting.

Although Rupert’s numbers for the Breakers weren’t great, NBA teams were intrigued by his size – 6’7″ with a 7’3″ wingspan – as well as his maturity and his unselfish playing style, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN wrote when the French teenager declared for the draft. He has also flashed some potential as a three-point shooter, making 10-of-16 attempts during the NBL Blitz preseason tournament in September.

International prospects drafted in the second round frequently end up being stashed overseas for at least a year or two, but that clearly wasn’t the plan for Rupert — the No. 43 overall pick immediately received an NBA contract and will be in Portland in 2023/24.

The Blazers’ announcement doesn’t include any further details on Rupert’s deal, but there’s no indication it’s a two-way contract, so the team likely gave him three or four years using the NBA’s new second-round pick exception.

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