Trail Blazers Move Up, But Who's The Target?
By caseyholdahl Posted in: 2010draft
News recently broke that the Trail Blazers have acquired the No. 34 overall pick
from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the No. 44 pick and cash considerations.
This move should surprise no one who has followed the Trail Blazers since Kevin Pritchard took over as general manager. Often times there's great value to be had early in the second round, see Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham. And of course, second round picks don't automatically receive guaranteed contracts, which sweetens the deal for teams looking to add young talent without taking on long-term risk.
So the Blazers moving up ten spots without having to part with anything but cash is at worst harmless and at best very wise. But is there a particular player the Trail Blazers have targeted that they're hoping to acquire early in the second round? I'm not so sure.
My snap reaction was that there must be an international player the team is looking to select and stash overseas with the No. 34 pick. It is difficult to fathom how a player taken at No. 34 would be able to make Portland's roster, let alone crack the rotation. It's possible that the roster undergoes some tweaking between now and the start of the 2010-11 season, so maybe that opens up a spot. Even so, my best guess is that the Blazers, assuming they're selecting for themselves at No. 34, take a European and leave him overseas. Portland obviously has a track record of that approach, though it's usually with first round picks.
Another possibility is that Portland has targeted a player who they consider underrated; someone they figure will be available at No. 34. Hearing director of college scouting Chad Buchanan discuss Craig Brackens' workout on Saturday
, and then seeing that Draft Express has Brackens slotted in at No. 34
makes me wonder a bit. Another guy from Saturday's workout, Tommy Mason-Griffin of Oklahoma, who doesn't even make the second round in Draft Express' mock draft, was described by Buchanan as "kind of a sleeper" and a player who hasn't "gotten as much publicity as he probably deserves." Do you have to move up to take a guy like Mason-Griffin to might not even get drafted? Probably not, but it's a working theory.
It's also possible that they made this move just in case someone they like falls to No. 34. Reports that the team payed more than $1 million for the opportunity to move up 10 spots in the second round leads me to believe they have someone in mind, in the grand scheme of the NBA, a million bucks isn't exactly make or break kind of money.
Finally, there's always a chance that they'll use No. 34 as a part of a larger deal on draft night. Being able to send over a player with a non-guaranteed contract is a cost-effective way to improve a team looking to keep salary under control. If the Trail Blazers get into negotiations with a cash-strapped team, maybe being able to add a nice, inexpensive piece by selecting and sending off the No. 34 pick could be the sweetening needed to get a deal done.
There are probably other scenarios I haven't thought of, but I think the one thing we do know (to speak in KP's parlance) is that the Trail Blazers are going to be active on draft night. But that that activity entails is anyone's guess.