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Sam: Blazers Take Beal, Zeller In 2012 NBA Mock Draft

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Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com predicts that the Portland Trail Blazers will select Florida guard Bradley Beal and UNC center Tyler Zeller with the No. 6 and the No. 11 in his 2012 NBA Mock Draft. --------------------------------- 6. Portland Trail Blazers: Bradley Beal, 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Florida Inevitably, a highly-touted prospect drops a few spots in every draft and, although Beal is considered by some observers to be the No. 2 prospect behind Davis, based on need alone, the former Gator falls to Portland in this scenario. Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and small forward Nicolas Batum, a restricted free agent, are the Blazers' two legitimate starters, as point guard Raymond Felton appeared to be a bad fit after coming to Portland via trade. Shooting guard Jamal Crawford will likely depart in free agency after a one-year stint. Center remains a position of weakness and, although Drummond, if available, would be tempting, the franchise's bad luck at the position -- Sam Bowie and Greg Oden come to mind -- make it too easy for picking a player at that position to be criticized by the team's rabid fan base. Rebounding in general is another area that needs to be improved, so Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger, despite playing the same position as Aldridge, will also be considered. But with Crawford's likely departure and swingman Wesley Matthews' shooting struggles last season, Beal simply makes sense and would be considered a steal with the sixth pick. While his outside shooting in his only college season was what observers projected it would be and he isn't an elite athlete, Beal's toughness and NBA-ready body give him a chance to get on the floor immediately and perhaps push Matthews for a starting role. 11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller; 6-foot-11 center, North Carolina Why? With two lottery picks, the Blazers can afford to take a chance after going the safe route with their first pick. However, there isn't a high-risk, high-reward prospect on the board worthy of them making such a selection, so they're better off filling a need with a player who can contribute immediately. Zeller fits that description, as he should be able to compete for a starting spot as a rookie. He might not be a star, but his ability to run the floor and solid overall game fortifies a front court led by Aldridge. ---------------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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