Elhassan: The Three Best Fits For Portland In This Draft Are ...
By caseyholdahl Posted in: damianlillard
ESPN.com 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.