With new General Manager Neil Olshey at the helm, Trail Blazers fans and media alike are curious to see how Olshey approaches the draft. Is he conservative? Will he be active and complete multiple trades on draft night much as we've seen under different regimes in the past? We truly won't find out under June 28th, but ESPN's Chad Ford gives his insight during his weekly chat
. Here's the question and his response:
With Olshey now at the helm in Rip City and preaching the importance of young talent, do the Blazers target a potential "cornerstone" this draft? Do they package the 6 and 11 to move up and get it? Is Drummond that guy? Or do they upgrade the 2 with Beal?
Olshey spent a lot of time on the high school circuit and really values young players who were highly ranked coming out of high school. Look at their picks, DeAndre Jordan, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, etc. He also loved OJ Mayo and worked hard to get him. So ... if they can't move up (I could see Beal) as a target, he won't be afraid at all to go after a guy like Andre Drummond or Perry Jones.
I love this mindset; go big or go home! And all of those three picks Olshey made (Aminu, Bledsoe, Jordan) have turned out positively for the Los Angeles Clippers. DeAndre Jordan was at one time thought to be a Top 10 pick in the 2008 draft but slipped to the second round and Olshey scooped him up without hesitation. Now Jordan is one of the best young centers in the league at rebounds (8.3 per game) and blocks (2.3 per game). Bledsoe saw his star begin to shine in this year's postseason, averaging 7.9 points in just over 17 minutes a night. And Aminu was used as trade bait to help lure Chris Paul to Tinseltown.
Even if the Trail Blazers decide to pass on Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III, just the draft philosophy Olshey incorporates is value added. Think of it from an opposing GM's perspective: You are targeting a high risk, high reward player such as Andre Drummond but Portland is picking ahead of you. Knowing what you know about Olshey and how he operates, you may have to trade up to get the man you want, instead of waiting your turn. Even if the Trail Blazers have no intentions on picking Drummond or Jones III, just the perception that they'd roll the dice on either one could make for an interesting draft night.
Also, Ford keeps mentioning the name Bradley Beal as a potential target. Is this a smokescreen or do the Trail Blazers have true interest in the 6-4 shooting guard out of Florida? Only time will tell.
What's your draft philosophy? Would you be gun-shy on pulling the trigger on a prospect such as Drummond or Jones III? Or do you swing for the fences?