First Lets go over what is going to be available next year:
C-Meyers Leonard-...help us all
Roughly up to 12 Million in cap space
Everyone else should be gone. Serious gaps are in the bench and the big men. Now I have been hearing rumors that we could possibly trade assets away(first round pick possibly?) for a reliable defensive minded big man. I do not believe this would be the answer. I still think we still need to acquire our top ten pick and then possibly use our 2 second round picks in a sign and trade for a reliable big man. The down in dirty on what I would do for our top ten draft pick would be...Draft Michael Carter Williams of Syracuse. Now most people are looking at this and saying this guy must have completely lost his mind. We just draft our 'franchise point guard' in Lillard, so why in the world would we draft another? However as most people who read these things just to bash the author listen to my reasoning. as this would solve a couple needs that I will bring to light. MCW is 6'5" or 6'6" depending on the website with a wingspan of 6'9". That is some serious length. He came out of high school as a highly recruited guard who could score at will, but coming into Syracuse his freshman year he was pretty well regulated to the bench as the back up point guard. His sophomore year he came out and really stepped up. Though he had some disappearances through out conference play, and a still inconsistent jumper he hasn't gotten back from high school, he has some major positives that can fit into the Blazers future. He has true point guard vision where he was one of the top assist leaders in the nation in both years he played at Cuse'. This works great for Lillard, who is truly a combo guard at heart. Yes he averaged 6.5 assists per game this year, however in 38+ minutes a game, that is pretty average for a point guard. When Lillard really took off is when He was playing the two guard in March with Maynor, a more conventional point guard, bringing the ball down the court. In that month the Great Dame averaged his best shooting percentages of 47% from the field and 46% from three with 21 ppg and 6.8 assists. He actually had an uptick in assists due to people closing out on bad rotations where he found open guys down low or in the corner, but this was brought to fruition due to Maynor running the point. (Side Note:If that did not happen and he had any other average month, he would not have won rookie of the month that month as that was statistically Anthony Davis's best month as well.) Now another thing you can do is bring Wesley Matthews back to the bench, where he has been most of his career, and quite simply on most teams he would be a quality back up shooting guard. This would automatically give Portland a nice little one two punch at both guard positions for the starters and the back ups. Now something you might say is, "well Damian is 6'3", what are we going to have a Ellis/Curry debacle?" No. Remember at the beginning I said getting MCW will fill a few of our needs, and I have already stated two, and now here is a third. MCW, though he played in Syracuse's vaunted 2 3 zone, is, quite simply, a very good defender with excellent size, and as they say, you can teach size. With his length he would be able to guard the opposing teams shooting guard with ease, and very well could be utilized like Batum, and guard three positions at the PG, SG, and SF spots. That would be pretty impressive to have two individuals who could do this. This would allow Portland to run three deep at both guard positions, where Barton and possibly Elliot Williams could develop further without us having to sacrifice wins to get them playing time.
Now for the center spot, there are a couple options that can be looked into. The best and the least likely to happen would be getting Pekovic from Minnesota. From the Webster back scandal, to trying to get Batum, to signing Roy just so insurance wouldn't cover all of Roy's contract with the Blazers, Portland and the Wolves do not have the best business relationship. Anything short of a max contract offer would not get Pekovic from them. However, that might not settle well for Love who demanded one from them not too long ago and was denied. Plus Minnesota's front office is awfully sporadic so who knows. The other I would like to see is Marcin Gortat from Pheonix. He is 30, had a down year last year, and Pheonix may want some future draft picks, and possibly a Joel Freeland(who knows!). But as we do not really have assets to trade those would be difficult to attain. Finally I come to two more realistic options, and that would be...don't laugh...Zaza Pachulia, and Chris Kaman. First Kaman, he was paid 8 million last year, and had a horrible year. He played 20 minutes for 50 games and had injury concerns so hopefully, we could get him on a buy low, maybe 5-6 million. Plus Dallas and Portland was his final two spots before he picked the Mav's, with one of the main reasons being Olshey and their relationship. I also do not think Portland being labeled the, "Whitest City in the NBA," will scare Chris Kaman away. His Hollinger report also isn't too shabby as well and would bring in a veteran post presence who can play some D. As for Zaza he is another solid veteran defender who would bring in size and a veteran presence. He was paid 5 million last year, and if Portland could get him for something near this that would be wonderful as it would leave 6 million to spend on a veteran SF or PF. Another final random guy I would look at is Tony Allen. I know he is 6' 4" and is a shooting guard who can't shoot, however he is another guy who has a wonderful relationship with Olshey and getting him as another defensive ace would not hurt. He was paid only 3.3 million last year, and is still regarded as one of, if not the best defensive perimeter player in the game. He played only 26 minutes a game last year and averages only 20 for his career, but he would be another great defensive presence who could help teach our young guards a thing or two. Though he is short, we could definitely throw him in as Batum's back up at small forward because he is physical enough to guard the other teams small forward and best perimeter players. This would regulate Will Barton and Elliott Williams(if we keep him) even further back in the depth chart but that could be a better way to develop them. So in closing this is what we could potentially end up with:
PG:Michael Carter Williams, Eric Maynor, (Damian Lillard)
SG:Damian Lillard, Wes Matthews, (Tony Allen) Will Barton
SF:Nicolas Batum, Tony Allen, (Victor Claver)
PF:LaMarcus Aldridge, Victor Claver(stretch four) Joel Freeland
C: Chris Kaman AND/OR Zaza Puchulia, Meyers Leonard
This does not even include our two second round draft picks. I would use both of them to possibly trade up or stash a couple guys overseas. If I traded up though I would possibly try to get a solid junior or senior bruiser PF, like when we had the Rhino, or a Dejuan Blair type guy.
Possible Power Fowards we could look at later in the draft are:
and my personal SLEEPER OF THE DRAFT!!!! (AKA dont let him be ANOTHER KENNETH FARIED!!!)
Trevor Mbakwe of Minnestota!