Ask any fan what are the two biggest needs Portland has to address this offseason and they'll tell you, a point guard and a center. And with just one center (Kurt Thomas) and one point guard (Nolan Smith) under contract heading into the 2012-13 season, it's no secret the Trail Blazers will look to fill those voids either through the draft or via free agency. But the draft comes first, and with June 28th creeping up around the corner, ESPN's Chad Ford released the sixth version of his 2012 NBA Mock Draft
At pick No. 6, Ford sees the Trail Blazers selecting UConn center, Andre Drummond, just as he did in his previous version
. Here's Ford's analysis of the sixth pick:
There's really no gray area when it comes to Drummond. Either scouts love his size, potential, and athleticism or are turned off by his lack of production during his one year at Connecticut and have concerns about how his raw overall skills will translate to the next level. But with so few elite centers left in today's NBA, the opportunity for Portland to get their hands on one and pair him with LaMarcus Aldridge to form one of the league's most devastating front-lines, could be too tempting to pass up on.
And one would have to think that Portland would be a good situation for Drummond as well. As said, he'd get to start alongside one of the NBA's best power forwards in Aldridge so the pressure to come in immediately and be "The Man" would be off Drummond's shoulders. While LA would be shouldering the scoring load down low, Drummond would be asked to play to his strengths by patrolling the paint, looking for shots to block and rebounds to grab.
At No. 11, Ford has Portland filling their other void by taking Damian Lillard, a point guard out of Weber State.
When you see a player average 24.5 points per night -- second in the NCAA Division 1 -- coming out of a small school, such as Weber State, the automatic assumption is that he's the only option on the team, so he must be throwing up 30+ shots a game. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Lillard did all of his scoring damage on only 15.5 field goal attempts
a night. How was the 6-3 guard so efficient? For starters he found his way to the charity stripe eight times per game in just over 34 minutes of action and hit three 3-pointers each outing at a 40% clip.
The naysayers will argue that Lillard is not a "true" point guard who looks to get others involved before anything else. And while his four assists per game won't knock any socks off, it's not as if he can't pass. As the lead guard and No. 1 option on offense, as well as the focal point of each and every defense he faced, Lillard only turned the ball over 2.3 times a game, which equates to a solid 1.74 assists-to-turnover ratio. Although he's not a finished product as a distributer, you can bet the farm that having the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews to pass to will have those assist numbers rising in no time.
How would you feel about a Drummond/Lillard draft, Rip City? Do you like addressing the needs through the draft? Are Drummond and Lillard are the best players available at each pick? Or should the Trail Blazers look in another direction with those picks? Personally, this is about as ideal as it gets for me if the Trail Blazers stand pat at No. 6 and No. 11. Drummond gives the Rose City a legit center while Lilliard has me seeing flashbacks of Terry Porter running the show, able to stop and pop from three at any given moment. But that's my outlook, what's yours? Sound off in the comments!