Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan met with the media early Saturday morning, the final day his team will work out draft prospects in advance of Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft.
His plans for the No. 21 pick are pretty well set, saying the team is down to a "select group."
"I think we're down to about three guards and we've got about two bigs that we like that are still in the mix for us," Buchanan said. "About five guys total."
The Blazers have completely ruled out drafting a three with their first round pick. "Right now we're not looking at any small forwards," Buchanan said.
He then joked that two of the five guys on his list were 750 AM's Jay Allen and myself. I could not be reached for comment.
The list is comprised of players with whom the Blazers are well-acquainted.
"All five guys are not guys that have come on at the last minute for us," Buchanan said. "I guess that's the safest way to put it. We never try to let something at the last minute sway us. We want to look at a full body of work. We've known these five guys well as players and we try to see how the draft might shape up, who might be available."
A published report surfaced recently that the Blazers have promised to draft a player at No. 21. Buchanan denied that was the case.
"I know there are rumors out there that we have promised or shut down somebody," Buchanan said. "We feel strongly about a couple of guys but we haven't gone that far yet."
He also claimed that the Blazers have never promised a player during his time with the team, although he admitted the team has "considered" doing so for a second round prospect once in the past. He specifically denied rumors and reports that the Blazers promised guard Elliot Williams last year. "We did not. I know there were rumors about that but we did not do that with Elliot."
That doesn't mean the Blazers would never promise a player, however.
"If we felt that strongly about a player [we would do it]. I think it does happen around the league for sure. The hard part with promising a player is that the draft is so unpredictable at what can happen at the last minute that it can be unfair to a player. IF you promise them, then have a great trade opportunity and move out of that pick, it's unfair to that kid if you've done something to jeapoardize to land with another team. You'd have to have a pretty high pick."
He then listed multiple advantages in shutting down a player.
"Preventing other teams from seeing them, interviewing them, getting medical and psychological data on them, seeing where they are at health wise right now. Kid might have an injury that you're not aware of, it's just getting them in front of you, the last piece of the process."
Take all the promise talk for what it's worth on both sides. Players and their agents stand to benefit if their name is linked to a promise. That's solid buzz. Teams and their officials obviously can't tip their hand if they've made a promise, so a denial, even one that's on the record, doesn't mean much. And a last-minute trade can always muck everything up.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter