I sat up in bed tonight after ruminating on the draft more. Here's a shorter, simpler explanation of how this all works.
What three things were we saying consistently leading up to the draft?
1. If you draft a point guard you need someone you're sure of and who can contribute right away. The team can't afford to spend another first-round pick on a guy that might or might not work. In many ways a veteran would be better.
2. If you don't draft a point guard, however, you need to swing for the fences. Take a risk. We don't need immediate help at other positions. In fact we have too many (young) players at most of them.
3. The eventual percentage move might be to trade out of the first round of this relatively weak draft entirely and save money either for cap flexibility/trade facilitation or to alleviate the specter of the luxury tax if you make a big move later and then re-up Roy and Aldridge.
See, the thing is we were regarding these as mutually exclusive goals. Thus Lawson was your safe, attainable point guard pick. A guy like Curry (who is more of a combo guard) or even Blair with his rebounding prowess would be your attempted home run. You have to choose what you're shooting for. Getting out of the first round is another choice entirely.
What KP did was manage to combine all three tenets. He eschewed the strength of this draft--point guard--and it seems apparent that some veteran upgrade is around the corner, either to fill the third point guard spot or improve the starting lineup. He swung for the fences with the Claver pick (the best international player on Portland's list but a guy who won't develop fully for a couple years) while managing to avoid salary obligations to same until he's actually ready to sign. We were all thinking in two dimensions. He was operating in three.
That's why he's the GM and we're all chasing him to catch up.
The only question left in my mind is whether this was really the "A" plan or did the Blazers have other options that either fell through or that they didn't end up liking as well. Maybe someday we'll know.