So where do we start? Free agency
Assuming that we don't bring back Felton and Crawford walks (Thank the good lord! I'd have to become a Lakers fan watching these two scrubs again next year) we should have in the neighborhood of $20,000,000 in Free Agent Cash to spend.
Priority #1 - re-sign Batum I don't think that there is much doubt that we have to bring back Batum. He's been starting in the league since he was 18 and would basically just be graduating college compared to most people his age. He's going to continue to be a very solid player and has the POTENTIAL to be an all-star caliber player in the near future if he can just get more aggressive on both ends of the floor. He's a natural 2 - guard thou and causes matchup nightmares at the 2. At the 3 he becomes very pedestrian. That can be addressed in the draft.
Sorry Wesley, but you’re a very solid rotation player, NOT a starter.
He should command around 8,000,000
12,000,000 left to spend
Priority #2 - re-sign Hickson Hickson has proven in Cleveland and now here in Portland that he can produce at the NBA level. No doubt about it the guy can play ball and has won the hearts of many in Portland for his tenacious and high-energy play, doing most of his work in the paint. It's hard to find a player in recent Blazer history that has been this strong going to the rim and doing the nasty work in the paint that he's been doing. That being said he's the type of player that teeters on the fence of being a starter/1st big off the bench. Regardless Portland should re-sign him, even if we have to splurge a bit, especially looking at the big men free agents available and how much they will be getting overpaid.
Hickson will get paid around 5,000,000 and I’d be fine if Portland gave him that money. We’re paying JAMAL CRAWFORD aka best street ball/ worst basketball player in the NBA 5,000,000. Enough said.
7,000,000 left to spend
Priority #3 - get a pg
Let’s be real here, were not getting Deron Williams. And do you really want him so much that we let batum walk? The guy got the longest tenured coach in the NBA to QUIT. That’s right, Jerry Sloan QUIT, not got fired but QUIT because of Deron Williams. There’s no disputing his talent but I don’t know if Portland wants the headache when there are 3 very solid pg's that we could get and not break the bank doing it.
#1 - Goran Dragic - The guy can flat out play. Since Lowry has been hurt he has been blowing up both scoring and assisting. This is not an anomaly. He was good in Phoenix behind Nash and has shown he's a very solid starter in this league. He's big (6'3 - 6'4) he's athletic (throws down dunks) He can shoot (FG% .488 last 30 days w/o Lowry) he's PASS FIRST (8.6 assts last 30 days w/o Lowry) and he’s young (25) (That's a lot of parenthesis)
#2 - Aaron Brooks - Oregon ducks alum and he can play ball. He was one of the best pg's in the league in Houston before he got hurt/benched for Kyle Lowry. Went to China and is doing work over there. If we can get brooks, a young, extremely fast/quick, floor spreading, and strong assist totals pg's we should get him.
#3 - Steve Nash - There are quite a few people who don't seem to want Nash because of his age. His style of play does not revolve around athleticism. He'll probably average 10+ assists and stay in the 40/50/90 club till he retires. I’ll take efficiency over age any day of the week. According to Nash he's looking for a three year deal. If we can't get the two guys listed above we should take him. Regardless of your thoughts on Nash I think everyone would agree that for 3 years we would no longer have any questions at pg that have been plaguing us for over a decade now.
All 3 will probably get around the 7,000,000 (give or take a few million) a year that we have left to spend. SPEND IT and let's get the pg purgatory over with that we've been in what feels like forever now. The Ghost of Terry Porter will no longer haught us.
Let's Move on to the draft.
Most likely were going to get the 5-7 range pick from New Jersey and our Portland pick will hopefully be 10-13 range. So who should we take in a deep/loaded draft?
With New Jerseys pick I think we should go Terrance Jones/Harrison Barnes. Both guys are very solid players who have PROVEN PRODUCTION at the highest possible level in college and are NBA ready Athletes. Both have slipped on most draft boards a bit from there top 5 pick levels recently mostly because they are surrounded by 3 to 4 other NBA 1st rounder players that need touches to. Both will be productive NBA players. This is an interesting pick between the two because their playing styles are different.
Terrace Jones is an aggressive player that does most of his scoring inside of the 3pt arc. He rebounds very well and would match up right away against other NBA 3's athletically. He's also got a mean streak to him that this team lacks. What an excellent complement he would be to Batum at the 2 and LA. He's not an excellent shooter but we probably don't need him to be given that LA, Batum, and next year’s pg's will all be able to stroke it. Perfect fit in my opinion, bring the local kid home and let him start beasting people. He's a younger and possibly more skilled Gerald Wallace that plays like Gerald before Gerald started playing below the rim.
Harrison Barnes on the other hand wouldn't be too shabby either. He has been putting up very good numbers on two loaded North Carolina teams. He can stroke it, no doubt about it. He would spread the floor and can play right away given his size and athleticism. Another guy that would matchup right away athletically and size wise with other NBA 3’s. He'll probably fall between the likes of Danny Granger and Martell Webster. Closer to Granger I imagine thou. He'd fit well between Batum and LA at the 3.
Portland’s 2nd first round pick (10th - 13th)
Take a Big man. A serviceable big man that can contribute right away. Who does that leave us with?
Tyler Zeller and Perry Jones III.
Zeller will be a solid NBA player but probably never a great NBA player. He'd most likely contribute right away by cleaning the glass and playing some solid post defense. He would not make waves and do his job. He's also a legit 7 feet and underrated athlete. Take him if he's still on the board.
Perry Jones III is the potential pick. He's an excellent athlete and is both long and skilled for his size. But he doesn't seem to spend as much time in the paint as one would like and he doesn't seem to always play balls to the wall. That being said most people that have watched him play would probably not be shocked if he became one of the better big men in the league and most wouldn't be shocked if he was buried on the bench Anthony Randolph style.
I'd take Zeller.
So where does that leave us? In my world that has the blazers rotation looking like this:
Dragic/Elliot Williams or Matthews Batum/Matthews or Elliot Williams Jones/Babbitt LA/Hickson/Babbitt Zeller/Hickson/LA
This gives us a solid 8 or 9 man rotation and everyone having their distinct roles. That puts us back in the playoffs and with the right coach we could be a Spurs style team, 2011 Dallas style team, or a 2004 Detroit style team. Thoughts? >