Chad Ford released the eighth version
of his mock draft this morning and, once again, he has the Trail Blazers picking up the UConn duo of Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb.
At No. 6, Ford sees Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey rolling the dice on the player who is said to have the highest ceiling of any prospect in this draft class in Drummond.
In just two small paragraphs, Ford drops a lot of knowledge about the Trail Blazers. The first being that Olshey is said to be a risk-taker and this isn't the first time Ford has brought this up
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.
Drummond did work out for the Trail Blazers this past Saturday. Photos of his workout can be seen here
and you can watch him address the media here
Also, Ford says that Olshey knows he has some time to rebuild the Trail Blazers; no overnight fixes needed. If this is the case, players who may not be ready right away but have potential to be great could be on Rip City's radar, especially considering the fact Portland has two lottery picks, making the decision easier to gamble on a prospect knowing you have another pick stashed in your back pocket. Think of it as the Reese's conundrum. You want to savor the peanut butter cups, but the first one is so much easier to eat because there's a second one left. The thought from a lot of fans and media alike early on was that Portland's two lottery picks would be trade bait, and that sentiment could still very well ring true, but it has been said that the best way to rebuild is to do so through the draft.
Finally, Ford believes the Blazers could be eying three players at No. 6. Most everyone would assume those three to be the aforementioned Drummond, Weber State point guard, Damian Lillard, and should he fall to them, North Carolina small forward, Harrison Barnes. But as Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend!" Instead of the silky, smooth wing from UNC, Ford says it's the 6-4 scoring guard out of Syracuse, Dion Waiters, who has caught the attention of Portland's personnel.
I've scoured the internet for any and all mock drafts
and have yet to come across one that has Dion Waiters landing in the Rose City at pick No. 6. Quite a few believe he would be the target just five picks later, but this is a first to hear that he's in the mix at the early selection.
For the third time in his last four mock drafts, Ford pegged UConn Sophomore shooting guard, Jeremy Lamb to go No. 11.
It does make sense for the Trail Blazers to add a scoring punch to their backcourt, especially if they address their needs at center with Drummond earlier on in the draft. And with Waiters and Rivers already off of Chad's board at No. 7 to Golden State and No. 10 to New Orleans respectively, it would seem to come down to Portland native Terrence Ross and Lamb. While I don't have any inside intel, nor do I claim to have any, I would be surprised to see Lamb be the choice at No. 11, especially after he reportedly disappointed the team
at the Chicago draft combine.
A player the Trail Blazers/many teams were disappointed in was Connecticut’s wing Jeremy Lamb. He was known as a sharp-shooter, but wasn't able to knock down his perimeter shot on a consistent level during drills.
Whether or not those feelings are true on Portland's end, Lamb is still widely regarded as a sure-fire lock to go into the lottery. It's only a shame that he will not be working out for Portland
, as he injured his ankle in Toronto working out for the Raptors. He was said to have been on his way to Portland immediately after. If he doesn't end up getting an audition in the Rose City, fear not for there is always YouTube!
Luckily, the draft is just nine days away. The wait and speculation is almost over.