Pelton: Trail Blazers Likely To Keep 2013 First Round Pick
By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers
For those who might not be aware, Portland sent a conditional first round draft pick to Charlotte as a part of the trade that netted the Trail Blazers Gerald Wallace
(which, in turn, allowed the Trail Blazers to trade Wallace to the Nets for what ended up being the pick that became Damian Lillard). The condition of that first round pick, at least this season, is Top-12 protected, meaning that if the Trail Blazers end up with the 12th pick or better, they retain the pick. If it's 13th or worse, the pick goes to Charlotte.
Today Kevin Pelton, in his first SportsNation chat since joining ESPN.com full-time
, answered a question about the likelihood that pick gets sent to Charlotte for the 2013 Draft. The nightmare scenario this season, at least according to some, is Portland both missing the playoffs AND having to send their pick to Charlotte. But according to Pelton, that's not so likely.
Blazers are pretty much locked in to missing the playoffs but losing their (top-12 protected) draft pick this year, right?
Kevin Pelton (1:24 PM)
I think there's a pretty good chance Portland hangs on to the pick because the schedule is so difficult the rest of the way. 12th is their most likely finish in my simulation; they only finish 13th or 14th about a third of the time.
Kind of a "good news/bad news" thing there. Personally, I'd rather make the playoffs and lose the pick, but if that doesn't end up happening, I guess keeping the pick is the next best thing (though I'm inclined to argue that giving up the pick, which is going to have to happen eventually anyway, in what many are calling a historically poor draft wouldn't be the worst thing in the world).
Pelton also takes a question about the upcoming free agency of Trail Blazers bigman JJ Hickson ...
On the other hand, could awful defense hurt JJ hicksons chances at a big-ish contract this summer? Or will teams be blinded by the double-doubles?
Kevin Pelton (1:25 PM)
I think the relative lack of interest in Hickson at this year's deadline was a sign teams are seeing through his impressive per-game numbers. On the other hand, my motto in free agency is it only takes one team to believe in you.
So there you go.