The latest stretch of Blazers Basketball has been very impressive from our developing Small Forwards, Nic Batum and Travis Outlaw. Nic Batum has shown tons of poise and hustle as the 19 year old was thrown into the starting line-up when incumbent starter Martell Webster went down with the injury. Most Portland fans are very impressed with Batum's contributions defensively and more increasingly on the offensive end. Not only has Batum showed a knack for being a solid on-ball defender, but he is great in help defense as well. Travis Outlaw has recently shown great signs of consistency in both his shot choices and his on-ball defense. That late 4th quater steal on Jason Kidd could have been the key to winning that Dallas game. That is on-ball defense that I can live with! Plus, we haven't even been able to see Martell, which is in all liklihood our most talented small forward option on both ends of the floor. It will be nice for Nate and KP to have all three of those guys in the fold for next season, or the ability to use one of them as trade bait.
My point in talking up the Small Forwards is that I don't see SF as the Blazers greatest need that should be addressed via the draft. Portland is going to have something like the #22 pick to the #25 pick in the 2009 NBA draft. While this pick could be enough to land experienced college PG's like Darren Collison or Ty Lawson, it seems the best direction to go would be to start adding talent and youth to the front court again.
I am a big Oden believer. The 14points/10 rebounds that he puts out when not in foul trouble is a big sign of things to come from him, and I am not concerned about his CAREER because of this seasons knick knack injuries. I am also a huge fan of Joel Pryzbilla and the stud-gamer LaMarcus Aldridge. But with the Channing Frye contract expiriing, and the space opening up from Michael Ruffin, Shavlik Randolph not guaranteed a spot, I would like to see Portland make a move for a PF or C in the 2009 draft. Of course I don't anticipate KP just waiting to see who falls to them, but with 3 2nd round picks and the #24ish pick (not to mention Sergio as trade bait) I can see KP manuevering to get a player he targets as low as the low-teens.
- Blake Griffin PF, 6’10” 245lb. Age 19, Oklahoma #1
- Greg Monroe PF, 6’11” 250lb. Age 18, Georgetown #3
- Jordan Hill PG, 6’9” 215lb. Age 21, Arizona #5
- Hasheem Thabeet C, 7’3” 265lb. Age 22, Connecticut #8
- Cole Aldrich C, 6’11” 245lb. Age 20, Kansas #13
- DeJuan Blair PF, 6’7” 250lb. Age 19, Pittsburg #15
- James Johnson PF, 6’8” 235lb. Age 22, Wake Forrest #16
- BJ Mullins C, 7’1” 260lb. Age 20, Ohio State #17
- Earl Clark PF, 6’9” 200lb. Age 21, Louisville #18
- Jerome Jordan C, 7’0” 235lb. Age 22, Tulsa #20
- DaJuan Summers PF, 6’8” 225lb. Age21, Georgetown #25
- Donatas Motiejunas PF, 7’0” 215lb. Age18, Lithuania #27
- Pattrick Patterson PF, 6’8” 245lb. Age 19, Kentucky #28
- Craig Brackens PF, 6’10” 230lb. Age 21, Iowa St. #31
- Tyler Hansboro PF, 6’9” 250lb. Age 23, North Carolina #33
- Damion James PF, 6’7” 230lb. Age 21, Texas #37
- Michael Washington PF, 6’10”225lb. Age 22, Arkansas
- AJ Ogilvy C, 6’10” 250lb. Age 20, Vanderbilt
- Jeff Pendergraph PF, 6’9” 230lb. Age 21, Arizona St.
- Taj Gibson PF, 6’9” 230lb. Age 22, USC
- Josh Heytvelt PF, 6’11” 240lbs. Age 22, Gonzaga
I figured I would open up this discussion BEFORE the NCAA Tourney so Blazers Fans know which prospects to watch so we can further debate this topic.
Who do you like?
What position do you think KP & Co. should target in the 2009 Draft?