Since winning the 2007 lottery, the Blazers have hit a streak of incredible bad luck. (And bad decisions). Two franchise-caliber players lost to injury. Quite a few poor draft choices. And now the team is in rebuild mode--there's an outside shot the team makes the playoffs, but odds are that the Blazers will be playing ping-pong, not basketball, once the regular season ends.
In some ways, our journey might be reminiscent of the Baby Bulls, who were the it up-and-coming team in the early aughts. With guys like Luol Deng, Jason Williams (the Duke guard), Kirk Hinrich, Tyson Chandler, Eddie Curry, and Ben Gordon, the team looked like it was destined for greatness. But Williams was nearly killed in a traffic accident, ending his career. Curry ate himself out of a job. Gordon never could figure out how to be anything other than a bench-chucker, but refused to accept that role. Chandler has had a successful career, but only after leaving Chicago. Hinrich is gone. The team wisely selected LaMarcus Aldridge in the NBA draft, but traded him to Portland for Tyrus Thomas and VEEKTOR!, both of whom are now gone. (Thanks, guys!) The signing of Ben Wallace, who instantly aged about twenty years after joining Da Bulls, spelled the beginning of the end. The team tuned out their no-nosense coach and got him fired. (That would be Scott Skiles, now with the Bucks). Team ownership and management were routinely mocked in the press as woefully incompetent.
But then, lightning struck. Da Bulls won the lottery a second time, drafting Derrick Rose, who is now the reigning MVP. They struck gold in the coaching market, with Thibs. Other draft picks, such as Joakim Noah, have paid dividends. The Bulls are, once again, an up-and-coming team in the league. Concerns about Rose's health may put a damper on the Bulls' rise, but with him in the line-up, Chicago is one of the league's elite teams. Even though Jerry Reinsdorf still owns the team, nothing breeds competence like success. (Just ask Paul Allen).
What if it happens here?
The reason this is a salient question is this: This year, there is a consensus #1 pick (Anthony Davis), who is--based on his career so far--miles above anyone else in the collegiate game. However, he plays the same position as the Blazers reigning All-Star and all-MVP player--LaMarcus "don't call me a center" Aldridge.
If the Blazers managed to get lucky as heck and land the #1 pick, and take Davis (and if you get that pick you either draft Davis, or make some other team pay dearly for the rights to the pick--you do NOT squander the #1 pick on Andre Drummond or any of the other lesser collegiate players not named Anthony Davis), what should the team do?
* Draft Davis, and try to play him and Aldridge together--if it doesn't work out, then make a trade.
* Trade the pick to some other team, preferably for an All-Star caliber player at some position of need; go with Aldridge.
* Trade Aldridge, rebuild around Davis--on the theory that his ceiling (and likelihood of reaching said ceiling) is higher than LaMarcus. (Nobody drooled about Aldridge coming out of college--heck, nobody really drooled about ANYBODY coming out in the 2006 draft, a class where the #1 pick was Andrea Bargnini).
While the Bulls didn't have an All-Star at point guard, they did have a well-regarded player in Kirk Hinrich--whom they kept only long enough to ensure that Rose was a legit NBA player, and then shipped him out.
A front line of both Davis and Aldridge would be interesting. It probably wouldn't play to LMA's strengths on offense, as he would be the more perimeter player while the more athletic Davis would do his beasting inside. The Blazers would be scary on interior defense, at least against those teams that don't have skilled dreadnought centers (which is all but 4-5 teams). That said, either LMA or Davis might be better paired with a big man who can bang and rebound stretch the defense with his shooting, much like the role Ryan Anderson plays for the Magic.