I've spent way too much time over the past month pouring over the different draftees, trade possibilities, etc., and I have come come to one conclusion...the Blazers need to trade down.
After reviewing as much as I can about each projected top 10 pick, I believe that each of them (outside of Davis) have significant enough flaws that it would be more prudent to trade the #6 pick in order to gain more flexibility/assets. The most appealing potential partner is the Rockets, although they may be able to use their picks and an asset or two to move up to one of the top 5 picks. But, hypothetically speaking (which is all we're doing here anyways), you could trade down and pick up the 14th and 16th picks, while also shedding Shawne Williams' salary.
Additionally, I would also use one of our second rounders, and a couple young assets to trade up. A likely trading partner being Kahn and the Timberwolves, who may be amenable to a Nolan, Victor Claver (a buddy for Rubio), Jon Diebler and #41 for #18 and Luke Ridnour deal.
So you now have picks #11, #14, #16, #18 and #40, along with a good/serviceable backup PG in Ridnour. You've also gotten rid of some dead weight/cap holds. Now it's on to what you do with each of those picks.
With the first two, #11 and #14, I say you take the best two bigs that are left on the board. I would go with Arnett Moultrie at #11 and Meyers Leonard at #14. This provides you with two incredibly athletic bigs, who should be able to come in and give some quality minutes as backups. With the 16th, I would take whichever of the 2-guards is still on the board. My personal preference is Terrence Ross. I think he is the best shooter of the bunch, and can hold his own size and athletic wise. Plus there is some hometown marketing appeal that comes with that pick. With the 18th pick you take Marquis Teague, who has far more upside than Nolan, and would be a good value pick that low in the round. Finally, with the 40th pick you take a project SF with some upside. Possibly Kris Joseph of Hollis Thompson.
At the start of free agency you swing a sign and trade deal with the Nuggets for JaVale McGee, sending them JJ Hickson and Joel Freeland in return. The Nuggets were thinking ahead and took Fab Melo with their 20th pick, and now have three bigs that they can add to an already talented front line, and that are cheaper than what they were likely to pay to match an offer on McGee. To round out free agency, you match whatever offer was made on Batum, sign Jason Kidd to a two-year deal with a team option on the second, and allow Przybilla to retire a Blazer (and serve as a mentor to Leonard) by signing him to a two year vet min deal.
Opening day lineup:
Obviously, in an ideal scenario every one of those picks hits their upside and you're set well into the future. We all know that is likely not to happen, but you still have a bunch of young guys with "upside" on rookie contracts that you could peddle to luxury tax teams looking to dump proven players in a couple years, and they were all taken low enough that you don't feel snake-bitten if they flop. In the meantime, I think that is a team that is at least challenging for a playoff spot the next couple years, especially if Kidd has anything left, which should keep things interesting for Aldridge and the fan base.
I know we all have our favorites in terms of draftees, and we can discuss the merits of each in the comments below, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the idea of moving down and the proposed trades.