If the NBA season is canceled, which appears more and more likely every day, they will have to figure out how to do the draft lottery for 2012. Many have proposed a system similar to that employed by the NHL after their lockout. This system would give teams a varying chance at the #1 overall pick.
With all the bad luck the Blazers have suffered, they are about due for a change in fortune. Imagine Portland fans cheering as they realize they have won the top pick in the hyped 2012 draft class. Say this very far-fetched possibility became reality, whom would you pick given the info we have now?,,,
PF- Jared Sullinger, 6'9 and 260lb, Ohio State
Sullinger has dominated in the post at the college level. His field goal and free throw shooting are both impressive. I think Sullinger as an NBA player will be similar to Zach Randolph, but with better defense (and personality).
The Big Buckeye could play behind and alongside LMA. It may not be the best fit as they are both natural power forwards and occupy the post. But Sullinger is the most proven big man, maybe even overall player, in the draft. May be hard pass up on a near sure-thing.
C- Andre Drummond, 6'11 and 270lb, UConn
Despite lofty comparisons to the likes of Amar'e Stoudemire, pre-NBA Greg Oden, and even Dwight Howard, Drummond has struggled a bit out of the gate. He has difficulty from the floor and the line, and has been in a lot of foul trouble. Still it does often take big men a little while to find their games. All freshmen have a lot to adjusting to do.
Drummong may be the biggest swing for the fences here. Center is obviously the Blazers biggest need, especially with Camby's age. If Drummond has strong knees (gulp) and does turn in to anything close to Howard, the Blazers could be title contenders. Heck, if he became an above average starting center, that would be huge. With the ever present injury concerns, big man learning curve, and lack of proof, this would be a risky pick.
PF- Anthony Davis, 6'10 and 220lb, Kentucky
Davis has a 7'4 wingspan and is very athletic, leading to crazy floor coverage and shot blocking. He had a 7 inch growth spurt in high school, which means his ball-handling is very good for a big man. Davis is thin, but could fill in as his body adjusts to the growth spurt. Defense is where he would be the biggest difference maker, but he has also displayed nice offensive skills. He has drawn comparisons to Marcus Camby with better offense, as well as Chris Bosh.
On the Blazers, Davis would obviously play the same position as LMA. However, if he gains some more weight (maybe twenty or thirty pounds), he could potentially play center at an NBA level. He would be a good complement to Aldridge and Wallace in a defensively-strong fastbreaking front-court. Thus far, he seems to be the consensus #1 pick, but his the ever-present knee concern could be a major issue for Portland. The growth spurts makes the risk even bigger for this big man.
SF- Harrison Barnes, 6'8 and 210lb, UNC
Many had Barnes as the top pick if he would've entered this past year's draft. After starting slow last year, he had a solid ending. He has played well this year thus far. In addition to his considerable skill and talent, he also possesses the confidence and clutch play needed in an NBA star. Some flattering NBA comparisons include Luol Deng, Paul Pierce, and semi-Kevin Durant. Other than Sullinger, Barnes has proven more than any of the other top prospects.
Arguably two of Portland's top three players play the small forward position, that is easily our least needed position. Still, Barnes is definitely a top-five pick, and Portland knows better than anyone the perils of passing up a talented wing-player in the name of drafting for need.
F- Perry Jones, 6'11 and 235lb, Baylor
Jones is very difficult to project so far. He was much-hyped but had an underwhelming year last year. Jones was suspended for five games this year for receiving improper benefits. His combination of height and athleticism make him scary, but his motor has come in to question. Jones has drawn comparisons to Anthony Randolph as well as Tracy McGrady. The gap between his realistic upside and downside is quite high. If he has a good year this year, he could be jostling for position at the top of the draft.
I am not sure how Jones would fit on the Blazers. His position could be anywhere from small forward to center. It would add to Portland's front-court versatility, but it is not clear if he would complement the rest of the team well. Will the Blazers want to swing for the fences on someone who will likely be a forward?
Some information used from ESPN.com and DraftExpress.com. Yes, I know this scenario is very unlikely. But it is a fun discussion with the lack of NBA right now. Vote in the poll and leave your comments!