Let's talk options...
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  1. Blazer247
    Posts: 591

    Posted 06/20/2012 3:11 PM

    I'm so tired or reading endless posts where people say "my player could destroy your player" or "that guy that pros are putting at the top of the lottery, yeah he's horrible and you're dumb for liking him" or "this college baller who's never played against an NBA caliber team is going to be the next Roy/Rose/Westbrook/Allstar!"

    That's not quite the wording that people are using but you get the point... I know that this is the draft and it's what fans do, but can we PLEASE have this thread just be about the Blazers' strategies depending on which option they take? Thank you, here we go.

    So, I'm hearing that we have one primary choice to make, which will then dictate several of our next steps in restructuring (/retooling/rebuilding, I don't care) Portland's roster into a competitive playoff level team.
    This is the choice between drafting Drummond or Lillard with our #6 pick.

    In my opinion, a center with a high ceiling is far more rare to find (and more difficult to teach) than acquiring a point guard with similair potential. That's just the nature of today's athletes and accepted styles of winning; Physically, a healthy and able Guard is more common than a Center simply because of the size difference. The skills of a good Point are relatively easy to teach, given the right type of mindset, because he will have primary control of the ball, he sets the tempo... whereas the skills of a good Center are more reactive to who else has the ball and what they do with it, on top of being less appreciated and less easily identifiable than those of a guard.

    So, if we are focusing on team requirements and best players available, not just the player we see as best in pre-draft workouts... IF at our #6 pick there is the top-ranked big vs the top-ranked guard, and their ceilings are comparable (Lillard is being likened to some of the best shoot-first point guards, and Drummond is said to have the HIGHEST ceiling of all players in the draft even though he may be more of a risk than others), it would seem more logical to pick the BIG. Yes, that is scary considering Portland's track record at drafting big men, especially if said Big has "higher-than-average risk"... but that doesn't mean we should instead draft another guard (who have also often underperformed after being drafted here), especially if drafting a guard would then make it more difficult to acquire a top-quality center (drafting Leonard at 11 will in no way guarantee the same quality center as drafting one at 6).

    Both positions, the Point and Center, are absolute necessities to fill with the best players available for our team, but they don't both have to be accomplished just through the draft. So if we are to compare Free Agents, I think it will be easier (and cheaper) to trade or buy a point guard than a center, from anywhere in the league. Any team out there with an NBA-quality center on their roster will be much more hesitant to give them up than a guard of the same level, because like I said above, there just aren't that many true centers out there, whereas guards are literally a dime a dozen and even the best can have cold streaks. So why spend a pick as valuable as #6 in a strong draft (where most of the strength in that draft is in the BIGS, not the guards) on a quality guard who has yet to compare his quality to other NBA PG's?

    So my opinion is to draft the strongest Center in the draft, then do everything possible with our remaining assets (picks, trades, $$$) to acquire a top-tier NBA-proven point guard (therefore avoiding the learning curve that true point guards go through from NCAA to NBA), and then fill in the middle spots. After the draft, we could aim for Dragic/Lowry (whoever Rockets let go), Brooks, or even Lillard from whoever ends up grabbing him (assuming it's near impossible that he falls to our 11 pick, but are people really thinking he'll be better than a Point we've already seen succeed in the NBA?) to get our floor commander.

    Are there other options at Point that we can trade for or sign? Or if you still think it's best to draft Lillard, how can we feasibly acquire a quality Center?

    Again, please don't fill this thread with ungrounded commentary about one draftee or another being the undeniable superstar and how there is no other correct choice. If you disagree with my suggestions then name some strategies to acquire a better overall roster, but don't just say it's because so-and-so is better and that's that!

    I am a fan of BLAZER BASKETBALL. Not drafts, not business, not trades, not David Stern. Just BLAZER BASKETBALL.
  1. boomtown
    Posts: 272

    Posted 06/20/2012 6:05 PM

    Well, as you've said in other posts, neither Drummond or Lillard are going to be perfect answers; they both need work.  

    I think when considering options, you look at 3 things:

    1)  In this year's draft, you look at the strength's of the guys available and see how easily it'll be to groom the weaknesses, because there are a lot of weaknesses from many, so maybe the strategy is to draft the guys with the least amount of weaknesses (or most strengths) ... (and if that's the case, forget Drummond).

    2) Then you have to ask what free agents does Portland plan on retaining and letting go.

    3) Then as you say, who can be had via free agency and trades.

    Quick note before i get into it.  Dragic is an UNrestricted free agent, so it doesn't matter what Houston does.  Portland can make an offer and grab him.  But if he stays with Houston, then yeah, sounds like Lowry is on the market, which my guess is what's going to happen based on what I've heard.

    Okay, let me just get into it...

    Option 1:  draft Barnes at 6

    Highly touted coming out of high school and we've yet to see what he's fully capable of.  But if he has shown us his best, then he was over-rated in high school and he's not as appealing as initially thought.  That said, if Barnes slides onto Portland's lap at 6, I think he'll be taken and this would be a good indication that Batum will not be retained, as he is a restricted FA who will command a large paycheck.

    Option 2:  Drummond at 6

    He does appear to be touted as the biggest, strongest, and best option at center because he has a high ceiling.

    Let me ask you, honestly, have ... you.... seen .... him... play?  

    Listen, I don't want to shit on your parade, but pumping up Drummond without seeing him play, just because he's the biggest and highest touted center is like Portland brainwashing everyone into thinking Oden was the best pick over Durant.  

    I'm sorry, but Drummond has no offensive game.  None.  This is the extent of Drummond. He can catch and dunk.  He can block shots.  He can grab offensive rebounds.  

    This is what Drummond canNOT do:

    Shoot the ball.  At all.  From anywhere, not even 5 feet.
    No mid-range jumper
    I don't think he can hit better than 2 of every 10 free throws.  Clank is his nickname.
    He has 0 post moves
    No jump hook
    He does not block out well, so he's not as good a defensive rebounder as he could be.

    What he does have:
    He's fast and he can run ... he's like a Power Forward in a Center's body because of how he moves.
    If you pass it to him on the run, he will power it down
    He will block shots 
    He will grab offensive rebounds

    When you say he has the highest ceiling, I would agree because his shot can't get any worse, there's no reason to believe he won't improve, but he maybe more than anyone in the draft needs to work on his shot.  This guy is the ultimate project.

    Comparison (and this is being nice) = Ben Wallace.  We need a defensive presence in Portland and that's what Drummond will provide.  

    Did you know he only averaged about 10 ppg last year?  about 7 boards if I"m not mistaken.  I mean, from a 6-11 270 lb guy, he should be averaging 20/10 easy, but basically what this guy is, is an unpolished high school player who is going to be coached, and sculpted like nobody else.  It's feasible he busts, but I said before his bust percentage is probably 20-30 percent because he is so big and is a defensive presence.  

    Option 3 draft Waiters or Lillard at 6

    Who do you prefer?  Waiters provides depth for Matthews, and has the potential to start someday.  Lillard would probably start from day 1 and might have the most flash and appeal of all the aforementioned, but again, he's not without his faults as I typed in the damion lillard thread earlier.

    Free agency:

    Will Batum be matched?  hell, nobody knows.  He's going to command big bucks.  We won't know his fate until we see who portland drafts, but if we get a guy like barnes or harkless, i think it's a good indication Portland believes they're not going to be able to afford Batum.

    Thabeet stay or go?
    Flynn stay or go?
    Hickson's restricted, do we match?

    Most everyone acquired in those trades last year are all free agents and about the only one who really dazzled was Hickson, so I would not be surprised Portland cleans house and lets all their free agents go.  

    Then we have to look at options around the league.  Lowry trade is a possibility.  I don't think it's realistic to think Portland's going to get Nash, Kidd, or some of the other big named free agents.

    Deron too expensive
    Nash will want to end career with a playoff team, not portland
    Brooks restricted, probably won't get
    Felton figure he's gone b/c he's just getting too much money and he wasn't good last year
    I like Jason Kidd to come and efficiently run the point until Portland has better options in the draft.
    But I also like Marshall as a good draft pick at 11... won't happen tho Drummond isn't taken at 6 b/c
    I think Portland will then target a center like leonard or henson at 11.  
    Jason Terry too much money
    Jameer Nelson has an option, but I'd like him here better than what we have now.
    I don't follow all players on all teams... I actually follow NCAA more than the NBA, so I'd be curious of people's thoughts of other free agents.  Jeremy Lin did well for a bit with the Knicks.  Barbosa I remember from the Suns, I doubt anyone wants Bayless back, but has he improved since he left Portland?
    I dunno

    Center Free Agents to consider
    Hibbert and Brook Lopez are both restricted and I don't know that Portland would make a play, but they might if:
    1) they don't draft drummond or
    2) they aren't keeping Thabeet

    Przybilla's a free agent too.  Man, portland needs a lot of help at Center.  

    I haven't followed any of these guys, but are they worth anything:

    Jermaine O'Neal (too old?  not performing anymore?)
    Nazr Mohammed  (once promising, but been around a long time; is he worth anything?)
    Ben Wallace (his days numbered?)
    Eddy Curry - what happened to you?  You were once so promising coming out of high school
    Jamaal Magloire - been there done that, what's his story these days?
    Kwame Brown - wow, another high pick, getting overpaid with the Rockets... what's he got in the tank? and what salary will he command?

    Other thoughts or ideas I'd like to hear.

    I am a fan of
  1. Blazer247
    Posts: 591

    Posted 06/21/2012 12:26 AM

    AWESOME post Boom. Great breakdowns. Lots I want to respond to but it's gonna be tomorrow.
    I am a fan of BLAZER BASKETBALL. Not drafts, not business, not trades, not David Stern. Just BLAZER BASKETBALL.
  1. cmeese47
    Posts: 2735

    Posted 06/21/2012 10:47 AM

    We need defense, and rebounding more than anything else. Offensively, we need a center who can score, LA will continue to face tons of double teams if we continue to play 4-5 offensively with someone like Pryzbilla or Thabeet starting for us. We have some decent on ball defenders but our help defense was one of the worst in the NBA we could not double team because we would get lit up on the perimeter and we were horrible covering pick and roll. We need defenders in the worst way. 

    Ideally, Portland gets Omar Asik and Joel Freeland to play Center. Asik in defensive rating is tied with Garnett and Howard over the last few seasons for #1. Freeland looks offensively ready for the NBA so that would make a nice combo. 

    I would like us to pair a veteran with a rookie to address our needs at PG. First choice would be Nash and Lillard, others to consider include Billups and Miller. With that in place I would like to trade Nolan Smith for an early second round pick to allow us to draft someone like Machado with one of our picks. With Nash and Lillard we would be fine at PG so Machado could go down to Idaho and get some real playing time and by the time Billups, Nash or Miller retire or leave hopefully Lillard will be ready to start and Machado can step up and give us 10-15 minutes of solid point play. 

    Aside from those two key spots we need get some depth at SG and SF. This can be done via trades, FA or the draft. 
    I am a fan of Getting Defensive Players This Summer.
  1. Ricky
    Posts: 541

    Posted 06/21/2012 11:43 AM

    I had a post on the message boards "Free agents come or go" around 11:30 am that dealt with this topic.  Take a look.
    I am a fan of
  1. boomtown
    Posts: 272

    Posted 06/22/2012 11:21 PM

    Portland has williams and matthews at SG and if they try and retain crawford, we're set.  babbitt and batum (if we pony up) are fine... shawne williams i dunno what's up with him, but i dont' think we need depth with those 5/6 guys.  bigger question will be whether or not prz and/or thabeet are retained b/c portland should be carrying at least 3 centers and without them, portland will have 3 new faces.  and pg too, yeah, nolan's the only guy under contract.  

    so we'll see.  i'm excited... lotta new faces will be in portland in the coming week :)  and even more when the free agent doors open up :-D


    I am a fan of
  1. cmeese47
    Posts: 2735

    Posted 06/23/2012 8:18 PM

    We cannot rely on Shawne Williams and Luke Babbitt if we want to be have a chance to contend
    I am a fan of Getting Defensive Players This Summer.
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