I'm always interested in who the Blazers can possibly pick up through free agency, trade for, or look to draft going into each season. Every year our needs change, and some guys drop off and others pick up their game.
Last year, I argued that Raymond Felton was the one guy that was possibly, reasonably realistic for Portland to get. I thought there was no way this team would ever get a CP3, or a Rondo, so we needed to search for above average guys who fit our needs. Raymond was a guy who could really push the offense and hit 3s when necessary, unlike Andre Miller, who was shooting at roughly a 20% clip for 3point land. I argued that although Felton was not a top 5 PG, nor the perfect fit, he was probably a top 10 PG talent and was the closest thing we could find to fill that hole that was our PG position. Through the first 6 games of the season, he has shown many of the flashes that I expected he would bring to this team, but he also (in my opinion) has a long way to go to understanding our offensive and defensive systems, and will only get better as the season progresses.
This offseason, which for the most part took place during the lockout, allowed for months of speculation on who the Blazers could pickup once the lockout ended. My mind was set on Jamal Crawford as soon as there was speculation that he'd like to make his was back to the Northwest. At the time, it was still believed that Brandon Roy would be coming back, but many of us hesitated and knew that even if he did see the court, his production and minutes would most likely trend downwards. I thought what the Blazers needed most was a guy who could come off the bench (a la Wesley Matthews in a sense) who could be immediate offensive production and no matter what would continue scoring when LA was sitting for short periods. Well, I think as we have seen this far, Jamal is that perfect guy, and with the loss of Roy, has replaced a lot (though obviously not everything) that Brandon brought to the table (again, in no way has Jamal filled his shoes, but numbers wise, he has filled a large bit of the production desired).
Now, I look around the NBA and see lots of guys that I'd love to see in a Blazers uniform, though many will never even be speculated about, either because those guys don't fit a need or position we need help at, or don't fit for salary purposes, or just don't mesh with our team-first philosophy. A couple years ago, Gerald Wallace was one of my favorite non-Blazers in the league, but I never thought he'd wear a Blazers uniform since we had a young and upcoming Batum at the 3 and LA at the 4. However, as you already know, we wasted little talent and assets in trading for the guy who is now our second best player on the team (I want the FO to extend him for another 2 years. It is my opinion that Crash is a more valuable player to our team than Kobe Cryant is to his team).
So, in concluding, I'd like for as many Blazer fans as possible to speculate over who they'd like to see in a Blazer uniform and why. Though I'd like to keep the conversation away from any player who is considered a top 15 talent in the NBA (such as Dwight Howard who will never play in PDX, or CP3 who is now tied up in LA, or Derrick Rose who has a 5 year max extension in Chi-town), I understand that there are certain players who fall into that category that could still plausibly find there way to Portland (the guy that comes to mind is Deron Williams, who is leaning heavily to leaving this offseason and making his way to Dallas). Obviously, needs are one way of approaching this question, but not the only way to analyze when answering.
Over the last couple years, guys I have coveted include Chuck Hayes, Emeka Okafor, Arron Afflalo, Ray Allen, Andre Igoudala, Marcus Thornton, Deron Williams, James Harden, Tyreke Evans (I really like the kid-- think of him as a poor man's B. Roy), Paul Millsap, Aaron Brooks, Udonis Haslem, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee, Josh Smith, JJ Hickson, Darren Collison, Marcin Gortat, Devin Harris (boy, his production has fallen off), & DeJuan Blair, amongst others.
However, the two guys I feel could make the biggest impact on this team (as reasonable, realistic acquisitions) would be Emeka Okafor, who is a defensive-minded 5 who needs few offensive touched besides slam-dunks and putbacks, and Aaron Brooks, who would perfectly fill a backup PG spot with nice floor-vision and a deadly 3-pt shot.
Feel free to discuss, and even argue congenially, below.