ESPN NBA draft analyst Mike Schmitz hired by Blazers as assistant general manager
ESPN NBA draft analyst Mike Schmitz plans leave the network to join the Portland Trail Blazers front office as an assistant general manager, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about Schmitz’s future.
Multiple ESPN NBA staffers congratulated Schmitz on Twitter.
The Blazers recently elevated Joe Cronin to general manager from interim GM, and hiring Schmitz is one of his first major moves. Schmitz will be lead the team’s domestic and international scouting departments, ESPN reported. Schmitz also is an assistant coach with the Uganda national team and brings vast international experience to the Blazers.
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A media member joining an NBA front office is unusual but not unheard of. The Memphis Grizzlies hired John Hollinger from ESPN in 2012. Luke Winn left Sports Illustrated in 2017 for a job with the Toronto Raptors, and Lee Jenkins bolted Sports Illustrated for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018.
Schmitz has had a rapid ascent since ESPN hired him and Jonathan Givony from Draft Express. Schmitz has been an on-air talent, appeared on podcasts and written for the web site. Draft Express, while no longer conducting mock drafts and prospect analysis, provides private scouting and analytics service to NBA, college and international teams.
Schmitz had become skilled at watching video with prospects and breaking down plays, similar to what Jon Gruden for the network did with NFL prospects.
He also previously worked at Yahoo!’s The Vertical and as video coordinator for the G League’s Bakersfield Jam.
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.