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Jordan Williams - The next Kendrick Perkins?

Probably not. But the Blazers should take him with the 21st pick anyway.

Here's why: The Blazers' problem last year was not shooting. It was not having a ball handler. It was not even offensively related. Our biggest problem was injuries, as has been the case for the past several seasons. Specifically, injuries and the resulting lack of depth in the frontcourt. Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, Joel Pryzbilla and Jeff Pendergraph all missed significant time this season. As a result Chris Nicolas Batum and Gerald Wallace were LA's primary backups by the end of the season.

There has been talk of trying to resign The Vanilla Thrilla. If he is available that would be a wise move. However, we cannot count on his health. Nor can we count on Greg Oden being healthy if the Blazers choose to resign him.

However, Jordan Williams has been healthy his entire career; he played in all 33 games in both of his seasons at Maryland, averaging 31 MPG his freshman season and 25 MPG his sophomore season. Conditioning issues forced him to the bench last year. He seems to have taken care of that, however, via Chad Ford at ESPN.com: "He's lost 10 pounds, dropped from 13 percent body fat to 8 percent and really hasn't lost any strength but has gained quickness, explosiveness and agility in the process. He's also improved his jump shot over the course of the past six weeks [in Las Vegas] as well." The Blazers training staff can help him keep the weight and body fat down.

Williams would provide us a legitimate backup for Camby and LA, and could ultimately be the starting Center in two years. He has size similar to Perkins (WIlliams comes in a 6'10", 250, Perkins is 6'10", 280), but has great strength around the rim along with a soft touch and a 6-11 1/2 wingspan.

The other reason the Blazers should draft him are his physical basetball tools. His best skill is rebounding, and years of experience has taught us the skill that translates the best from college to the NBA is rebounding. He averaged 16 ppg and 12 rbg as a sophomore in only 25 mpg. He had a 25.27 Hollinger PER. With better conditioning he can replicate similar numbers with the Blazers.

There are other reasons to draft Williams: he's only 20 and could grow another inch or two potentially, he averaged over a block a game in college and could average more with more explosiveness, and doesn't have off-the-court issues. However, the biggest thing the Blazers need as a team is health along the frontcourt, which he brings.

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