Blazer GM Reflections

Here are some mock draft reflections from a couple of the Blazer GM's.  (Either I haven't heard from the third one yet or I lost his e-mail in the deluge that came today.)

GM Chris H.

 

Obviously, the Draft has historically been our most active and stressful time of the season as we've spent a great deal of time scouting and acquiring young talent, but this season we needed a different approach. With Brandon, LaMarcus, Marty, Greg, and Travis, we think we have the nucleus we need to compete in the Western Conference. We also know, however, that we are a couple players away from making a true run at a title.

Now, with our current roster, we have some flexibility. Surely, with our young talent, we were in a position to make a great number of trades (like Boston did last year) to get good right away but at what cost? Every deal needed to bring a player who had the potential to be a real piece in what we hope is a future dynasty.

We started with the Pacers Danny Granger. But as GM Larry Bird put it "the one team [he] wouldn't trade Granger to was the Portland Trail Blazers." Our quest moved on to Pistons reserve Point Guard Rodney Stuckey, who was a part of a four-team trade that sent Rasheed Wallace to Philadelphia and Andre Miller to the Sacramento Kings, but again, it is a delicate and fragile process when trying to acquire established young talent.

After a light pass at point guard Raymond Felton, our spirits dwindled. Without Raef's expiring contract (because he has not officially accepted his final year), it looked more and more like we were picking at #13. We received one offer for Celtic's point guard Rajon Rondo, but it involved us giving up one of our team leaders and, especially after all this player has done for the franchise, we fully hope he'll be a part of our championship run.

In many ways, we were excited by the #13 pick as the draft progressed. We saw local prospect Kevin Love get drafted and then dealt to a team where he'll see immediate action. We saw Chicago acquire one of the best point guards, in my opinion, to enter the draft since Paul and Williams. And finally, we saw our near trade partner (Charlotte) get their man in Darrell Arthur at #9. It would've been nice if Russell Westbrook had fallen into our laps, but after his impressive workout, we're not surprised at all that he jumped into the Top 10.

With the #13 pick in the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers are eying...

C DeAndre Jordan - 19 years old; 7'0"; 260 lbs. Texas A&M, Freshman  OR
SF Joe Alexander - 21 years old; 6'8"; 230 lbs. West Virginia, Junior

In DeAndre Jordan, the Trail Blazers got another young 7-footer who is an absolute physical specimen. He's quick for his size, which means he'll fit into the running aspects of the game that Nate hopes to implement this season, and he's a freakish athlete that will help us defend the rim. However, we expect to take our time in Jordan's development. He should expect to play hard at Summer League and, more than anything, expect to spend a lot of time in the weight room. With Aldridge, Oden, Joel, Channing and DeAndre, we've easily got the best young big man rotation in the NBA and perhaps, NBA history.

*Selecting DeAndre Jordan infringes upon a future deal which would include Raef LaFrentz and possibly Joel Pryzbilla. It would hurt to see Joel go, but if it helped us acquire a point guard (and we had DeAndre Jordan behind him to ease the pain) I would fully support this move. Toronto, you need interior defensive help and toughness, and you have two point guards which interest us. MAKE THIS HAPPEN!*

In Joe Alexander, the Trail Blazers acquired a young athlete who knows a thing or two about hard work. Watching him almost will West Virginia into an NCAA championship was a site to behold and so was his workout. Between Alexander, Martell Webster, Josh McRoberts and Travis Outlaw, the Portland practice facility is going to see it's fair share of windmill dunks this season, and who knows? We might even see someone put their arm in side the rim. We're excited for Joe and we think his reputation for maximum effort will be a perfect compliment to what we've started building here in Portland.

 

GM Caleb K.

 

A note from a Portland GM: Three letters come into play here: BPA.  Joe Alexander is the Best Player Available, and we could use his dead- eye midrange game at the 3. He always gives a great effort by playing with as much as he can give. Joe's the kind of guy who will be scrapping for loose balls and rebounds, and his FT shooting is over 80%. He's also a great addition to the culture we're trying to build in Portland. He impressed us with his workout, but the interview 
sealed the deal.

GM thinking: Our trade of #13 and Jarrett Jack for Charlotte's #9  pick was scuttled by the league, which put us in the position of taking the BPA at 13 instead of 9. This gives us great potential trade flexibility because Alexander, Outlaw, Webster and Jones are now an official logjam. KP loves to have the flexibility, and Nate loves the competition for playing time. Finally, he's an insurance piece in case Jones opts out of his contract. Joe's not a 3-point shooter yet, but we think his repertoire compliments our team well (especially as Martell continues to develop).

Note:  The trade that our GM's refer to was a proposed swap of Jarrett Jack and the #13 to Charlotte for the #9.  Both teams were game but it came fairly late and would have meant stopping the procedings at Pick 9 for the Blazer vote instead of Pick 13.  The League Office liked the trade too but I, personally, was concerned that if we left 21 picks for the afternoon we'd never get finished with the draft.  So we decided to be faithful to Portland's draft position at 13 and nix the trade.

--Dave

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