May 23

Elhassan: The Three Best Fits For Portland In This Draft Are ...

By caseyholdahl Posted in: damianlillard Insider Amin Elhassan, who used to work in Phoenix's front office, put together a 2013 draft guide for the Trail Blazers, all of which is worth checking out. But the most interesting part is probably the three players from this draft who would be the best additions to the current roster ...
Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (Chad Ford Big Board ranking: No. 2): McLemore would be an excellent complement to Lillard in the backcourt as a great shooter and athlete. His main criticism, lack of aggression, would not be an issue in Portland with other offensive options ahead of him like Lillard and Aldridge.

C.J. McCollum, Combo, Lehigh (No. 7): McCollum is undersized as a shooting guard, but he is a big-time scorer with some playmaking ability and mirrors Lillard's maturity and professionalism despite being just 21. Ideally, McCollum could be the third guard in a rotation with Lillard and Wesley Matthews.

Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (No. 9): Zeller might not fit the bill of a defensive anchor, but he is a center with attributes no Blazers center has -- an excellent feel for the game and the ability to play with his back to the basket or face up. He is the type of player you can insert into a game right now.
There's no way McLemore, save some kind of catastrophic event, will be available when the Trail Blazers make their pick (unless they trade up, of course), though both McCollum and Zeller could conceivably be on the board at No. 10.

I have my doubts that Zeller, who had some difficulty playing against NBA-caliber athletes at Indiana, could come in and instantly surpass Meyers Leonard on the depth chart, but the competition would likely make both players better, so it would be a win for the team regardless of the outcome. And there's no way McCollum is starting in place of Damian Lillard, but having a quality backup at the point who can also play some off-guard would be incredibly valuable on a team in need of rotation players off the bench.

And for what it's worth, Lillard mentioned both McLemore and McCollum as two players he likes in this year's draft.


  1. I agree with the Cody Zeller doubts. I'm not sold on him, especially in the physical NBA. He's just going to get pushed around. And really, do we need a center with a back to the basket game? I don't think so. We need a defensive anchor who can shut down the paint. If Meyers can develop his defense to be respectable in the league, he would be the optimal center beside Lamarcus. A guy that doesn't have to clog the paint, can step out and hit a jumper so Lamarcus can go to work down low is exactly what we need. Now the question becomes do you think Meyers has more upside than Zeller on defense? If so, pass on Zeller.

    by Ricky Ackerman on 5/23/2013 2:00 PM
  2. At #10 Any of those 3 would be awesome. Having Zeller and Leonard would be a young front court with a lot of size, athleticism and potential. I think McCollum will turn out to be one of the best players out of this draft. Having him play a role like Maynor played last season, with added scoring would be huge. McCollum would make our backcourt lethal from 3 point, and have amazing ability to break down defenses. That would make Aldridge's job much easier. Also Leonard would have an easy time getting dunks in that situation.

    by Matt Goiney on 5/23/2013 2:34 PM
  3. I would be thrilled with all three of those players. At 10, I feel like Zeller is the best bet to be available and if we played him at center, it would take me back to the days of the Duck. Now, Zeller is more athletic, but both bigs have a soft touch around the basket, good in the pick and roll, and can hit the mid-range jumper.

    by DHawes22 on 5/23/2013 3:02 PM
  4. If we don't move up in the draft, then I'm liking this Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kid. Deep, deep range and a worker. Needed backup at 2. Yes, please.

    by Jeffery Phillips on 5/23/2013 3:08 PM
  5. Trading up for McLemore would be awesome but unlikely. McCollum is legit! combo guard, great scorer. Could backup and play alongside Lillard. I think Caldwell-Pope can play and we should consider him

    by CamCripps3 on 5/24/2013 4:46 AM
  6. I like the idea of getting McCollum. Like Lillard, he's another small-school star who played in college for 4 yrs and can both shoot the rock and handle it. If you can re-sign Maynor for a reasonable price, that gives you a quartet of guards that will be tough to stop, plus it would leave plenty of cap room to go get a C in free agency.

    by Rene Ferran Jr. on 5/25/2013 6:32 AM
  7. So its official, we all dig McCollum, but theres a couple of no namers that shouldnt be slept on.Oladipo is Wesley Matthews of Utah. Just all over the place. He like Wesley is a scorer. Streaky scorer. Damian and L.A. are shooters. You expect that when the rock leaves their hands, it's money. If they miss,the rim moved. I dont know what E. Will is, a scorer, or a shooter. Im hoping that when we finally see him healthy that he turns out to be a scoring shooter. Or the other way around, beggars cant be choosy.

    by commontongue on 5/28/2013 8:35 PM
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