Jun 13

Analyzing the Blazers/Cavs Trade Rumor

By petro4three Posted in: 2012draft, andredrummond, Blazers, bradleybeal, Cavaliers, damianlillard, harrisonbarnes

While many websites have reported the rumor of the Blazers having discussions about trading picks #6 and #11 to the Cleveland Cavaliers for picks #4 and #24, all citations seem to point back to the twitter account of Hoopsworld writer, Alex Kennedy. Even if this particular rumor is false, or the discussions are dead, it’s worthwhile analyzing it to get idea of what the Blazers would get, and give up, if they were to move up in the draft.

1. Who the Blazers would not be targeting

Damian Lillard

Many mock drafts have the Blazers taking 6’11” forward-center Andre Drummond from U Conn and 6’3” point guard Damian Lillard from Weber St. with their lottery picks. Though Drummond and Lillard play positions the Blazers currently need filled, the #4 overall pick would be too early to take either. While at least one legitimate mock draft has Drummond going at #2 (at least as of this writing), it would be safe to say a lot of people would be shocked if he went that high. The other player the Blazers would likely not be targeting is 6’9” power forward Thomas Robinson from Kansas. Though Robinson has tremendous upside according to scouts, he plays a position that is currently occupied by All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge.

2. Who the Blazers might be targeting

Harrison Barnes

After the New Orleans Hornets draft consensus overall #1 pick, 6'10" power forward Anthony Davis from Kentucky, the next four players go in various orders according to most mock drafts: Robinson, 6’7” small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky, 6’8” small forward Harrison Barnes from North Carolina, and 6’4” shooting guard Bradley Beal from Florida. Although the inept management decisions of Charlotte Bobcats' owner Michael Jordan will always be a wild card, it's probable that Kidd-Gilchrist will be selected at pick #2 or #3. This would leave Barnes or Beal as a likely selection for the Blazers at #4. I think both players can be starters on good NBA teams, and would not be disappointed with either. But if I was forced to pick one, I would take Barnes.

3. So should the Blazers consider a deal such as this?





Meyers Leonard

If the Blazers second first-round selection was in the mid 20's and not #11, they would be losing out players such as 7'1" Meyers Leonard from Illinois and 7'0" center Tyler Zeller from North Carolina who are slotted in the range. Draft analysts that I have read suggest these players, and others in this range, have a ceiling of being a starter or a solid contributor off the bench, with their "floor" being less than a role player. At #24 many mock drafts have players such as 6'2" point guard Marquis Teague from Kentucky and 7'0" center Fab Melo from Syracuse. Since these players would be drafted in the first round, they would likely make the 2012-2013 roster, but their future would be uncertain. They could develop into contributors or they could have decent careers in the D-League.

So would the Blazers consider such a deal?

According to Casey Holdahl's transcript, new Blazers' General Manager Neil Olshey said this about his drafting strategy this year: "It's not about filling needs." This doesn't necessarily mean the team is looking to move up in the draft, but it may cause people to re-think mock draft favorites Drummond and Lillard who fill needs, but may not be the most talented player on the board when the Blazers pick.

There is also this quote from Olshey from Holdahl via 1080 the Fan: "I'll tell you a golden rule in the draft, which is if you pick 6 and 11, you wish you had 5 and 10. If you have 5 and 10, you wish you had 4 and 9. But at the end of the day, usually things play out and, you know the old poker saying, don't judge people by your standards. So just because you're in love with someone you think is going to go ahead of you doesn't mean someone likes somebody else.

So should they consider such a deal?

If I was Olshey and the Cavs came to me with this trade offer would I do it? Yes. Barnes and Beal have higher ceilings and less question marks than Lillard, who played his entire career in the Big Sky Conference and sat out a year due to injury, and Drummond who many scouts and draft analysts say is very raw, similar to a poor man's Andrew Byum (i.e. Bynum when he came into the league, not 2010-2012 Bynum).

At this stage in the re-tooling plan, I think the best strategy is to acquire one sure-fire 'A' or 'B' player as opposed to two players who might have ceilings that high.

(Photo attribution: Lillard -, Barnes -, Meyers -


  1. Another great piece! Although you make a good argument, I think Lillard/Drummond do have the ceiling of Beal and Barnes. The only way I would consider this deal is if Thomas Robinson or MKG were available at 4.

    by DHawes22 on 6/13/2012 9:13 AM
  2. Interesting. How would you envision LA and Robinson playing together?

    by petro4three on 6/13/2012 9:19 AM
  3. LA at the 5, Robinson at the 4. I feel like once Robinson polishes off his outside game (still streaky at times), both players would be able to play inside out, giving the team unheard of versatility from their post players. Also, with great centers at a premium and nearly impossible to find, I think putting LA alongside another elite PF may be the best answer going forward.

    by DHawes22 on 6/13/2012 9:32 AM
  4. LA actually has better stats as a center than as a power forward. I think the true center is an endangered species anyway. Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman were rebounding monsters and both undersized. Another thing I hope the Blazers consider is avoiding ANY player with injury history period! Especially Marshall with a fractured elbow..this is the last thing we need going forward. We need healthy iron man types who can bang and have steel bones!

    by riverman on 6/13/2012 9:50 AM
  5. I think people make too much of specific positions. I think Thomas Robinson has the muscle/motor to compete with centers in the league. At 6'10" how many centers in the league are going to abuse him? Probably not very many. He is strong, athletic, and he knows how to get to the ball. I would trust him to play at the 5 for my team any day. Looking forward the things I want to see from the Blazers are hard work and effort. I don't care who the players are, if they're laying it all out on the court I'll be satisfied. And one final note...We should never not consider a player because that position is filled (clyde the glyde and MJ). You figure out how to allow them to play together.

    by calvinbp on 6/13/2012 9:58 AM
  6. I don't think it was be step backwards to draft Robinson, that's for sure. But ideally I would like more rebounding from my 5 than LA provides and for my 5 to be down on the block more with maybe a few more go-to posts moves. I'm sure his stats would be fine, but I am not sure how well he would fare in a playoff series against centers like Bynum and Perkins. If we were to look for a comparison maybe Utah's Jefferson/Millsap might be close, and I see that they both have decent stats, although the team was a weak 8 seed this year. I know, let's just max out Roy Hibbert!

    by petro4three on 6/13/2012 10:25 AM
  7. Barnes is a great player but he does not play that hard every night. If he could develop a great first step and some isolation moves his upside could be Carmelo Anthony. Without that ability his upside is somewhere between Joe Johnson and OJ Mayo.

    No one has questioned Beal's motor and he seems like a safe choice despite not dominating in Florida last season. His upside could be as high as Ray Allen although it seems more likely that he will fall into the Marcus Thornton or Eric Gordon range.

    Lillard on the other hand seems a bit riskier because of the small school and his fairly inaccurate passing. His does have a nice shooting stroke even if his mechanics are a little flawed. His ability to get to the free throw line is by far his greatest asset and if that transitions to the next level his upside is on par with R. Westbrook and D. Rose. Otherwise he could end up being another A. Brooks or D. Collison type player.

    Drummond on the other hand is a huge gamble his motor is suspect but with his athleticism he could turn him self into the next D. Howard. He is a good shot blocker and great athlete, but right now his offensive skills are pretty much dunks, layups and a fairly flat jumper from within 10 feet. Despite his freak athleticism he was not a prolific defensive rebounder but with sustained effort he could be a 12 rebound a night player. He is young and will make a lot of mistakes, if he has the desire and learns some offensive moves he could be Amare with better D or D. Howard. If not look for him to be the next D. Jordan or J. McGee.

    Other things to consider one Beal plays Batum's natural position and acquiring him would pretty much force Batum to stay a 3 and would leave us with 3 SG's who should all command minutes. Barnes on the other hand would allow Batum to shift to his more natural SG position but once again that leaves us with 3 SG's. I think Barnes offers the better flexibility but a inconsistent motor reminds too much of N. Batum could we be waiting for years for him to reach his potential?

    Lillard on the other hand would be a clear upgrade a position we have no one at, N. Smith is more of a combo guard and very unimpressive his rookie season. He is a good defender and his ability to score should help offset the inconsistent nature of Matthews and Batum. Overall he represents the best option for me.

    Drummond if Portland was rebuilding I would be in favor of selecting him. However, he will need a lot of time to develop and without any other options at Center too much pressure would be put on him right away. He would be better suited being able to mature slowly like D. Favors is in Utah.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 10:37 AM
  8. i'm pretty sure the 3 is batum's natural position.

    by calvinbp on 6/13/2012 11:00 AM
  9. He plays SG on the French National team and has expressed interest in playing SG for the Blazers.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 11:36 AM
  10. He plays SG on the French National team and has expressed interest in playing SG for the Blazers.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 11:36 AM
  11. some love throwing around the "best player available" philosophy around portland, so let's go there for a second. if the top five goes the way most are projecting, and the blazers keep the sixth pick, Lillard is NOT the sixth best player available in the draft. he's a scoring combo guard, not a true, passing pg. think of him as similar to Jamal Crawford when we had Jamal starting at pg last year. not a good idea.

    also, i have several friends who are bobcats fans; none of them i've talked to on the subject would predict charlotte taking Drummond at number two. as these people are more familiar with their team and its own rumors, and i deem them as credible, i would rely on their knowledge on the subject.


    by Kassandra on 6/13/2012 12:47 PM
  12. At 6'2 Lillard is not a combo guard he is a scoring PG. Unlike someone like Nolan Smith he is skilled enough at one position to stay there. While he might be more like Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury than Steve Nash or Jason Kidd that does not mean he is not a PG.

    Also if we are going with the best player available then he certainly qualifies there. Drummond might ultimately become the better player but right now Lillard is more NBA ready.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 1:01 PM
  13. At 6'2 Lillard is not a combo guard he is a scoring PG. Unlike someone like Nolan Smith he is skilled enough at one position to stay there. While he might be more like Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury than Steve Nash or Jason Kidd that does not mean he is not a PG.

    Also if we are going with the best player available then he certainly qualifies there. Drummond might ultimately become the better player but right now Lillard is more NBA ready.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 1:01 PM
  14. Lillard is a point guard who can score, not a combo guard who can't pass. But back to Robinson. To me, he reminds me of Blake Griffin: uber athletic, fights for every rebound, relentless in attacking the basket. But he one thing Blake doesn't, in my opinion, a driving desire to win at all costs, similar to that of Lillard and MKG out of this draft class. If there's one attribute I look for over all else when it comes to predicting how well prospects pan out, it's that competitive spirit that wills a player to give everything they've got to win.

    by DHawes22 on 6/13/2012 1:15 PM
  15. I wouldn't make that trade in this draft. Anthony Davis is the only known. Picks 2-10 could go in any order and no one can predict that. Moving up 2 spots in a draft this deep doesn't benefit us enough to lose 13 spots on our second pick. Pick 4 may not even turn out to be a better player than pick 6. In a draft where the order is known and we're targeting a certain player i'd consider. This drafts talent doesn't start sloping off much until at least pick 8. Hold on to 6 and 11.

    by Thansen36 on 6/13/2012 1:29 PM
  16. Good man Thansen.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 1:46 PM
  17. height doesn't dictate a style of play. truly, he is a combo guard; the draft analysis say the exact same thing. wanting him to be a true pg and him actually being a true pg are two entirely different things. he's a good player, but his passing is suspect, something which should be strongly considered. combine and workout tapes are one thing, but game action is another and his draft rating wasn't anywhere close to this high when he was actually playing games during the season. Lillard is probably 10th to 14th best player available, but certainly not sixth. there are a few more talented polayers out there.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 6/13/2012 1:51 PM
  18. Going back to Barnes, I think - at times - draft profiles can create reputations that aren't deserved. If he is the kind of player that takes nights off, hopefully the pre-draft vetting process would reveal if that was true or not. But just for fun, I looked up Russell Westbrook's old draft profile. Here are his listed weaknesses, which I'm sure OKC is glad they give too much weight to:

    - All-around offensive polish
    - Mid-range game
    - Not a true point guard
    - Ability to create own shot
    - Average ball-handler
    - Not ready to contribute immediately
    - Tweener?
    - Size for position
    - Undersized
    - Average shooter

    by petro4three on 6/13/2012 2:07 PM
  19. Exactly petro Westbrook is not a great passer but he is so good at getting his own shot that it becomes easier for him. 11 assists last night.

    by cmeese47 on 6/13/2012 2:59 PM
  20. Cleveland would have to sweeten the pot. What about 6 & 11 for 4, 24, next year's Unprotected 1st? Do the Blazers go for that? Does Cleveland?

    by ClydeFrog on 6/14/2012 5:54 PM
  21. Cleveland would want no part of that but I bet we could get them to throw in pick #33

    by cmeese47 on 6/14/2012 6:15 PM
  22. video of his work out with the kings
    pick 6.) Portland: Andre Drummond C Moves well for his true big man size. A rare thing in the nba these days. He shoots pretty good from mid range and has potential to be a monster under the basket offensively. But his shout blocking ability is what im most excited for as a fan. im not saying drafting needs is a good idea. I believe take the best talent available. The fact he does play center one of our needs is just lucky

    by alex.myrum on 6/15/2012 4:36 PM
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