Chad Ford of ESPN.com predicts that the Portland Trail Blazers would likely select Kansas guard Ben McLemore if they won the 2013 NBA Draft lottery.
Likely selection with No. 1 pick: Ben McLemore
Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and, to a lesser extent, Nicolas Batum are the long-term fixtures in Portland. I'd put Noel here, but after the Blazers' last experience with a young injured big man, I'm not sure they'd have the stomach for Noel right now.
While Wesley Matthews has been solid for Portland, McLemore offers more size and athleticism with a similar shooting touch.
A bit undersized for a shooting guard at 6-4 ½ in shoes (measured at the 2010 LeBron James Skills Academy), McLemore has a solid but not incredible 6-7 wingspan to go along with a chiseled frame and outstanding athletic ability. Boasting some of the best leaping ability of any player in college basketball, McLemore is a highlight reel play waiting to happen and has very good quickness as well.
Still a work in progress as far as his skill-level is concerned, McLemore sees most of his possessions as a transition finisher, spot-up shooter, and cutter in Bill Self's highly disciplined offense.
An outstanding weapon in the open court due to his speed and explosiveness, McLemore gets out in transition regularly, although he struggles at times when forced to lead the break himself.
Here's a detailed background story by Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, which includes quotes from McLemore's brother, who is currently imprisoned.
The Blazers will only keep their first-round pick if they finish among the NBA's bottom-12 teams, otherwise the pick transfers to the Charlotte Bobcats. Currently, Portland has the 13th-worst record. Portland's chances of winning the lottery are currently less than one percent.
McLemore, 20, is generally considered by analysts to have the best first name in this year's draft crop.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter