Jerae Bryant's Blog

Jerae Bryant

May 31

The draft lottery day hasn't meant very much at all to Blazer fans since 2007. Back then, the entire city of Portland all surrounded their TVs, anxiously waiting for Commissioner Stern to reveal where the Trail Blazers would be picking in the NBA Draft. The envelope for pick number five is opened. No Blazers. Then pick four. No Blazers. Pick three goes by. No Blazers. And finally, they opened up the envelope to pick number two and low and behold, right there, in black and white (or in this case green and yellow), the index card read "Seattle Supersonics". The realization hit that Portland had secured the top pick in the NBA draft, and the city erupted (or at least I did). This was huge! Portland had had lightning strike! And to top it off, Portland was supposed to draft at number six that year. SIX, PEOPLE!

So this year, (not as much of) the city of Portland surrounded their TVs once more, not-so anxiously waiting for Commissioner Stern to reveal where the Blazers would pick. The Blazers were supposed to pick at number eleven this year, but the Blazers have defied odds before. They did it in 2007. I mean, could lightning strike again? Could we get lucky? Might we have a little grace built up with the basketball gods for all of our injuries and misfortune? Nope. Not one bit. The gods must be crazy, because selecting at number eleven in the 2012 NBA Draft is... the Portland Trail Blazers! Anti-climactic much?

Nevertheless, we still had to wait and see if Brooklyn would suffer the fate of the numbers as well. The number six envelope was revealed, showing that the numbers were indeed not lying that night. Brooklyn is (not) going to draft at pick number six. Everything went according to plan.

So now what? Portland has two lottery picks, a lot of cap space, a couple tradeable assets, and not a lot of time. We could trade both picks, or could keep both. We could trade the high one and keep the low one, or vice versa. We also have a second round pick on the table, could we trade it? Could we use it? We have a lot of options, but here is my prediction.

"With the sixth pick in the NBA Draft, The Portland Trail Blazers select...Absolutely Nobody". I bet dollars to doughnuts (if that's still a valid economic exchange) that the Blazers will trade away that number six pick. As a team, we are eying mostly free agents and trades. Proven players. If the Blazers are indeed trying to get a Rajon Rondo/Deron Williams type player to end up here, or if we're trying to pry a starting center away from another team, then that sixth pick is almost a gestalt to any trade that could make it happen. In addition to that, we don't have that many other pieces to trade away (Batum, Matthews, a couple of the young guns... not a lot really). The sixth pick is almost too valuable in this deep draft to not use it as a trade piece. Also, there aren't going to be any point guards or centers available at the sixth pick that we couldn't tie up with the eleventh pick. So it makes perfect sense that the Blazers would look to throw that sixth pick overboard (maybe into Boston Harbor?)

"With the eleventh pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, The Portland Trail Blazers select... Kendall Marshall, Point Guard, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill". Kendall Marshall is the exact type of player that Portland is looking for. A pass-first point guard with high basketball IQ. The type of player who can find Batum in the corner and thread the needle through a LaMarcus Aldridge double-team. Portland has gambled a few times before by taking these athletic combo guards (Jerryd Bayless, Nolan Smith) and trying to mold them into point guards. It hasn't worked. And even though Marshall is lacking in the athleticism department, he is a true point guard. A passer, a facilitator, however you want to put it. He has court vision, basketball IQ, and he's tall and lengthy for a point guard (6'4" height and wingspan). He may not ever be a Derek Rose level athlete, but he is smart enough to learn how to be effective despite lacking a forty inch vertical (see Andre Miller or Mark Jackson). I think at the eleventh pick, you could do much, much worse... and I hesitate to say that, because given our history drafting point guards, the Blazers just might.
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