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Draft Approaching, Trades Coming?

Another NBA season comes to a close and the Blazers are once again pursuing ways to improve their team during the off season. I'm sure that you, myself, and every other avid Blazers fan have weighed out the options and claimed an ideal solution as to what deals they should do next. The options, however, are endless for Kevin Pritchard, Larry Miller and the Blazers staff. While I don't anticipate we'll be entering the 2010 summer sweepstakes for LeBron James, I do think we will make a move, or two, or ten.

Lately Pritchard has been a mastermind during the off-season. For those of you, short term memory fans, yes, he did push to take Greg Oden at number one; rather than take sharpshooter, Kevin Durant. Optimistically, I faithfully believe Oden will still turn out to be a more than decent starting center and lead Rip City to many playoff runs. Plus, had Pritchard taken Durant, Nicolas Batum (easily our best defender—Durant plays about as good of defense as Tracy McGrady—and suddenly, an up and coming scorer) would have no spot on the roster. Plus, the Blazers needed a center at the time. If not Oden, we should have waited a year and traded pick for Brooke Lopez, if you want to talk in retrospect terms.

Aside from the 2007 drama, Pritchard has been known to make off season moves that unanimously enhance the Blazers. As we approach June 28th and the 2010 NBA Draft, I have become more and more antsy, waiting to see KP's next move. From the Marcus Camby trade, to the Jeff Pendegraph deal, and the 2008 draft where he dealt very little for Jerryd Bayless, he has made several key improvements to make the Blazers a legitimate western conference contender. None of which would be possible without the 2005 draft where he stole Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, throwing away Tyrus Thomas and Randy Foye who are just now starting to develop.

Last summer I thought Pritchard was crazy for landing us old Andre Miller and Juwan Howard. But, who knew that they would play key roles in our season, with the plethora of injuries. Miller, who I refused to give a chance, will likely start at point guard next year, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Chicago Bull Kirk Hinrich may be a better player, but Andre Miller is definitely a better fit.

Now, with June 24th just around the corner, Pritchard and the Blazers staff have an endless amount of options for draft night. Lately the Blazers have highlighted drafts, making trade after trade, maximizing benefit from the annual event. This year, the draft seems relatively top heavy. While this doesn't play in the Blazers hands, who hold the 22nd and 44th picks in the draft. However, Nate McMillan manages to find room for all 12 players to check in and out of games, which can mean one thing; we have too many C+/B- players. If the Blazers want to compete for an NBA title, we need to add another superstar to what I would call Roy's team.

This off-season features a superstar-heavy free agency. While I don't think the Blazers necessarily need to deal for a superstar, they can find a future one on draft night. Recently, I perused mock drafts, searching for college basketball stars hiding at the latter end of the board. To my surprise, Grievas Vasquez (Maryland), John Scheyer (Duke), and Andy Rautins (Syracuse) appeared far later than I anticipated. Any of these guards would a great selection with our 44th pick in the draft, but that still leaves the 22nd pick free.

While mock drafts differ with who they have the Blazers selecting, I believe none of them got it right. The Blazers should opt to trade that 22nd pick with Joel Pryzbilla and Jerryd Bayless for the Minnesota Timberwolves 4th pick. Here the Blazers would select Wes Johnson (Syracuse), who I believe is the best NBA player in the draft. Sure John Wall was arguably the best player in college, and Evan Turner was called “the greatest player I've ever seen at any level,” by Kobe Bryant. But, I've seen all three of them play many times, and Wes Johnson played against the best competition in the Big East, endured an injury, and still managed to put up big numbers, nearly 17ppg and 9 rpg.

Now, while all of this seems to good to be true, the Timberwolves would have to want to make this trade, and why should they? If you look over their roster, they have leadership in Al Jefferson, but need a surrounding cast. They are inexperienced at their other positions, and the addition of Jerryd Bayless into their guard rotation would help immensely. Bayless has filled in for various injuries on the Blazers and shown he has the potential to run a team. Minnesota would enhance their roster with the addition of Bayless and they would still obtain the 22nd pick of the draft from the Blazers, where they could draft a much needed small forward--Devin Ebanks (West Virginia). Here, the Blazers and the Timberwolves win. So as a message to any Blazers official, please find a way to draft Wes Johnson. Pritchard said earlier this year that Johnson was his favorite player in the draft, and we can only hope he acts upon his message. And who knows, maybe point guard Andy Rautins will find his way onto the Blazers as well.

But the only way to find out is to tune in to TNT on June 24th, 2010 at 8pm EST to see what the 30 NBA teams accomplish.


~Jacob Rogers~
06.02.10

4 comments:

  1. Wes Johnson the best player in the draft? Please. Secondly, why would Minny do that trade? They already have Flynn starting and Rubio overseas. The last thing they need is Bayless. Third, Joel could be back in the middle of the season at best and he might miss more time after that. No way Minny does that trade.

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  2. Tell me the last #1 pick other than LeBron and Dwight Howard that were the best NBA players in the draft? Tim Duncan? That's 3 in the last 14 years. Not a very good percentage.

    And as for the trade, Minnesota needs bodies with talent. You can't say they have Rubio, because they don't.. really. He's not coming over any time soon. And Johnny Flynn, really? That's your team leader?

    Originally I had wanted to offer them next year's 1st round pick, but that may end up being a later pick than this years, maybe combo them. Because what good is Wes Johnson going to do, when they don't have any other good players? Jefferson's been hurt, their guards aren't good, just a thought.

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  3. Shaq, Webber, Duncan, K. Martin, Yao, Lebron Howard, and maybe Rose (I like lopez better personally) Just went through the last 20 years on wiki with my brother this morning. It's about 45-50% the #1 pick ends up as the best player in his class.

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  4. hahahaha at Wes Johnson being the "best player in the draft" Also agree that there is NOOOOOO way Minnesota would make that trade. David Kahn isnt THAT dumb.

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