caseyholdahl

May 20

Ford: If the Blazers won the first, second or third pick they would select ...

By caseyholdahl

Some interesting speculation on the part of ESPN.com's Chad Ford on the eve of the NBA Draft Lottery. Ford goes through each lottery team and makes his best guesses as to who each team would take should they end up with the first, second or third pick in this year's draft. And when it comes to the Trail Blazers, Ford wonders if Portland's recent history with top picks, specifically big men with injury issues, would enter into the decision. According to Ford, it would ...
First choice: McLemore (1.1 percent)

Second choice: Oladipo (1.3 percent)

Third choice: Noel (1.6 percent)

Analysis: The Blazers are still recovering from the last time they had the No. 1 pick in 2007. They selected Greg Oden over Kevin Durant (and, by the way, so would have all 30 GMs in the league), and the rest is history. Durant became the second-best player in the NBA behind James and Oden has played a total of 82 games since the 2007-08 season. If they're fortunate enough to get the pick again, would they really gamble on a guy who is coming off ACL surgery? I'm told yes … but I'm not sure Neil Olshey could really do that to Blazers fans. The team could still also use more help in the backcourt. McLemore has one of the best strokes in college basketball. Oladipo could provide some lockdown defense next to Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard.
If Neil Olshey thinks Nerlens Noel is the best player in the 2013 Draft, he's selecting Nerlens Noel with the top pick. I feel very strongly about that. I've personally thought about how drafting a player who is coming off a knee injury would be received in Portland, but I don't think for one second that the front office is making decisions based off how they'll be perceived by the public.

As for McLemore, he would certainly qualify as a "need" for the Trail Blazers thanks to that shooting stroke. And Oladipo (who Portland is supposedly high on already) is being billed as an elite wing defender in the the mold of Memphis' Tony Allen, which would certainly be welcomed on, statistically, one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. He'd also add some top-level athleticism to Portland's backcourt.

In this draft, a draft in which at least one general manager said no one deserves to be a No. 1 pick, it's very possible that no consensus forms among NBA front offices regarding who should go first, which might make the 2013 Draft one of the more unpredictable in recent memory.

So who are your Top 3 for the Trail Blazers? If I'm making the picks myself, I'd probably go Noel first, Oladipo second and McLemore third, though I could probably be persuaded otherwise.

11 Comments

  1. My 3 are essentially the same as yours. Though honestly, if we got a top 3 pick I would like us to look into trading it. Not saying we should trade it, but if the right deal comes up we gotta take it.

    by Ricky Ackerman on 5/20/2013 2:49 PM
  2. I wouldn't trade it just because I don't think the top picks in this year's draft hold as much trade value as some prior, but I certainly wouldn't be opposed if a team is set on acquiring a player like Noel and is offering up the farm.

    I would have a difficult time choosing between McLemore and Oladipo at the top spot. Both are fantastic athletes. Oldadipo gets the nod on defense, McLemore on offense. McLemore is a year or two younger so there might be more upside there, but Oladipo kind of came out of nowhere this season so I don't think he's done developing either.

    I'd be fine with Noel. His injury doesn't concern me. But I think his ceiling might be that of a Larry Sanders-type, which aren't the hardest players in the world to find.

    by DHawes22 on 5/20/2013 2:53 PM
  3. I'd strongly consider offers for the pick if we were to win the lottery. I think you'd still get some real nice offers, despite the lack of top-end talent, due to the new CBA and the great value that rookie contracts provide.

    I'd also consider taking Oladipo first. Hard to tell who the best player is in this draft with so many injuries.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/20/2013 3:11 PM
  4. In my opinion McLemore is overated. He played like crap in the NCAA tourney. The more I see highlights of Pope the more I like his fit on our team. Don't get me wrong I love Oladipo's athletic ability and his finish at the rim. Let's hope we don't get the first pick.

    What about Shabazz at SG? We need instant offense off the bench and he could provide that right away.

    by ZD17 on 5/20/2013 3:31 PM
  5. Shabazz is falling like a stone. The narrative as it pertains to Shabazz is that he doesn't to anything well enough offensively to be a scorer in the NBA. Some mocks have him out of the lottery already.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/20/2013 3:33 PM
  6. James Harden also played terrible in the NCAA Tourney and I remember our own LaMarcus Aldridge getting dominated by Tyrus Thomas in the Tourney as well, so I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into one March Madness moment.

    by DHawes22 on 5/20/2013 3:36 PM
  7. I would trade away any of the top three picks in a heartbeat! First and foremost we need a center, and those picks are to early to pick one up. We also need depth, and a top three pick could get us a couple of rotation guys. However, if we keep the pick i say go McLemore, in recent years there have been more offensive players to turn around their teams then defensive players.

    by JR_Spahn on 5/20/2013 4:16 PM
  8. 1. Oladipo
    2. Oladipo
    3. Oladipo

    10. ............

    by Choong Huh on 5/20/2013 7:48 PM
  9. Best case scenario for Portland is aquire the #6 pick and draft a guard. Our success rate for guards at 6 is WAY better than centers at 1. If they want a big, let someone else draft the big then trade for the player, that seems to work fairly well for us.

    by t bone on 5/20/2013 8:44 PM
  10. Another question: Do you even WANT the No. 1 pick?

    by caseyholdahl on 5/21/2013 9:24 AM
  11. Personally I think Oladipo would be ideal. He's already stated that he honestly would like to be drafted by the Blazers, stating "It’s a place where you can just concentrate on basketball.". Now that's what you want to hear from your rookie; the raw desire to become the best player they can become.

    Then again, I tend to prefer the Popovich method of drafting players; attitude first, talent second. JaMarcus Russell would be a perfect example of why this is important.

    by Rajel on 5/21/2013 3:05 PM
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