Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports that Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried wasn't pleased with how the Portland Trail Blazers conducted themselves during the 2011 NBA Draft process. The Blazers selected Duke guard Nolan Smith at No. 21, leaving Faried to be drafted by the Nuggets at No. 22.
"I ain't going to lie to you: I don't like them,'' Faried told The Oregonian this week in Denver. "I think it's disrespectful what they did, got my hopes up for nothing. Every time we play them, it's a little extra motivation for me to come out and show them what they missed.''
"They said if I was there at 21, they would draft me. They said they were hoping I was there,'' Faried said. "But when the time came around ... I mean, their front office and coaches decided to go the opposite way. I just took it as extra motivation. I remember saying, ‘If they don't want to draft me, that's their loss.'''
The Blazers' front office was led by president Larry Miller and Acting GM Chad Buchanan after owner Paul Allen abruptly fired GM Rich Cho in May 2011.
In June 2011, Buchanan told reporters that the Blazers had not made promises to draft any players at No. 21 after it was reported that Reggie Jackson had been promised by Portland.
"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."
Faried, 23, is currently averaging 12.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in 29.4 minutes per game, posting a PER of 18.92. He was named Western Conference Player of the Week earlier this season.
Smith, 24, is averaging 2.5 points and 1.1 assists in 8.8 minutes per game. His PER is 1.36, which ranks No. 406 out of 425 players in ESPN.com's database.
PS Thanks to js0930 in the FanShots for getting there first.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter