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