FanPost

So many draft reaction posts, and here's another one

First and foremost, I approve. Deeply.

I was calling for a banking of the picks, as you all well know; well, Pritchard turned that #27 and #33 into a bankable Euro, the #36 into THREE future second-rounders, and that 50-something into another future second-rounder. So, except for what he did with #13, yes: HE BANKED THE PICKS.

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Now for my read on the substitutions/replacements, because that's what I view the Pacers trade as: He replaced JJ (and the #13) with Bayless, and replaced McBob with Diogu.

If you look at the trade that way (we didn't add anyone; we just upgraded JJ and replaced one disposable rookie-contract big with another), then it all makes sense: If there simply WAS NO DRAFT AT ALL, we'd've gone into next season with a GAME-1 starting unit of Blake/Roy/MarWeb/LMA/Oden and a backup unit of JJ/Rudy/Trout/Frye/Przy, with Rudy getting a shot at replacing Blake as the season goes along and Trout getting a shot at MarWeb's spot as well; our below-top-tenners would've been McBob, Sergio, and the REC.

What KP did was basically change the scenario not one bit, except upgrade two positions (and adding Batum to our Petter/Freeland Euro stash): He turned JJ into Bayless, who joins (and competes with) Rudy as a prospect to replace Blake as the starting point if he shows enough, and Diogu replaces McBob alongside Sergio and the REC in the realm of not-even-third-unit/insurance/cheering-for-wins/gone-by-tipoff-of-09/10-season.

Or, in other words, Pritchard DIDN'T CHANGE THE TEAM ONE FREAKING BIT. This is a huge point of emphasis, which I can not ram down anyone's throat hard enough. At least for now, no changes, just improvement - and even there, the improvement is in a backup guard (having Rudy play with an American-college Rudy instead of with JJ) and a bench towel-waver.

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Consequence #1: Sergio's place in the post-Rudy world is cemented as below-white-unit. With Rudy and JJ, he'd've been starved for opportunities even as a backup. Well, we ditched JJ, but only for a BETTER guard, and didn't deal Blake as well. Message is simple: No room for Sergio in the big picture. Done, and done. Sorry.

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Consequence #2: While training camp and the early part of the season was earmarked as an opportunity for combo-guard Rudy to replace for-now Blake as the long-term answer as Roy's co-guard, he now will share the backcourt with Bayless - who will be in exactly the same position. How they play together as twin combo guards while being simultaneously assessed for their potential as the long-term answer at the spot of Roy's co-guard . . . that's gonna be an interesting dynamic.

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Consequence #3: Canzano's post-draft blog ended with this nugget:

Also, understand, that the Blazers have a sky-high opinion of Travis Outlaw. They didn't make a single move toward a player who could play his position, even with James Jones opting out of his player option earlier Thursday. Outlaw isn't just going to start the season as the small forward; he'll do it with a huge vote of confidence from management. It's his job to lose. And you'd better believe that Outlaw knows that Pritchard believes in him today.

I know some of you pooh-pooh Canzano's Journalistic credentials, but this has the ring not just of truth to me, but of BEING INFORMED. And while I was ready for Outlaw to begin the season as MarWeb's backup (since MarWeb was the starting 3 last year and Trout was on the white unit) but eventually take that starting spot, this comment about how Trout "isn't just going to start the season as the small forward; he'll do it with a huge vote of confidence from management" just makes sense. Still, Martell makes sense as the other (read: BACKUP) small forward, if only for the start of the season.

Point being, Canzano thinks Trout joined KP, Nate, Roy, Oden, and (maybe) LMA with the most blessed status of all: An immovable part of the long-term Blazers core. I'm inclined to agree - not just that Trout SHOULD have that status (hi, annthefan!), but that he DOES, and that what we did (or more to the point, what we DIDN'T do) on draft day verifies that.

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Consequence #4: Not only is Trout secure alongside (not BEHIND) LMA, but, as per Freeman's post-draft story:

[T]he Blazers ended up with Bayless, who did not work out for them during the predraft process but got a ringing endorsement from Blazers forward Channing Frye, who attended the same high school (St. Mary's of Phoenix) and college as Bayless.

"He is extremely competitive and he is an extremely good talent," Channing Frye told The Oregonian in an e-mail. "I'm happy we have him here and he's gonna make us better, not only on the court, but off."

So who's our backup power forward? Trout is now above that station, and Bayless has deep Frye ties. There is officially a long-term place for Frye on this Blazers team; if he doesn't sign on with an extension this summer, he's a fool. The arrival of Bayless and the impending elevation of Trout is a clear invitation to him to stay, unless a shot at money and a starting job (not a guarantee, mind you - just the CHANCE of it) mean that much more to him. Frye isn't Shawn Marion . . . is he? Watch for a summer extension for Captain KPW. If it doesn't happen, I swear it isn't for the lack of invitation. Take that invitation, Channing. Stay. You'll always be a backup and never make anywhere near $8mil a year, but you will be happy in your one true home, and accumulate rings. Stay. You're wanted.

On the other hand, if that Trout analysis above rings true, what of MarWeb? He doesn't seem to have as obvious a long-term place as Frye does, unless he is as willing as Frye to be a backup making backup money. At  the very least, unlike Frye, nothing happened on draft day that elevated Martell's keepability the way Trout's protection and Bayless' acquisition elevated Frye's keepability. We'll see. He may have to show his humility and team commitment, but at least for now, especially with JJ gone, he's the most tradable Blazer outside of the REC.

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