Transcript: Blazers GM Neil Olshey Talks 2013 NBA Draft

Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the 2013 NBA Draft.

Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Blazers selected Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum at No. 10, traded for California guard Allen Crabbe at No. 31, selected Kansas center Jeff Withey at No. 39 and selected Montenegran forward/center Marko Todorovic at No. 45. (Information on second round picks can be found here.) The Blazers also selected Arizona forward Grant Jerrett at No. 40 but traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for cash considerations.

Here are prepared statements from Olshey and owner Paul Allen via a press release.

"It was a great night for our team," said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. "CJ McCollum was the player we wanted going into the draft, and I'm very excited to watch him thrill our fans in the Rose Garden next season."

"We're pleased with how tonight went because we were able to select the players we identified as priorities in addition to some that we didn't think would be available given our original draft range," said General Manager Neil Olshey. "Now we'll get into Summer League, see what we have on the floor with our young guys and add high-caliber veterans as we work to create a more competitive team for next season."

Here's a full transcript of Olshey's press conference. Video is below.

How did you do?

We'll find out. We got the guys we wanted. We got some guys that we didn't think we would have an opportunity to get and we're pretty excited about that. Now we'll get into Summer League and see what we have once they hit the floor. Add some veterans through free agency and trades and try and get a more competitive team on the floor next season.

C.J. McCollum

He's the whole package. It's very similar to [Damian Lillard]. The way he carries himself, he has command presence on the floor. He's got incredible confidence, he can really make plays off the dribble, which is something I think will make our offense more fluid. He's another guy that really wanted to be here. From very early in the process, his agent is a close friend of mine, we actually grew up together. He had talked, right away, that this was the best place for him. He and Damian have been in constant communication. It was just the perfect fit. The last week or so, we didn't feel like he would get to us at 10 and when he did we were ecstatic.

Can he play alongside Damian Lillard?

You saw a little bit of it last year. That's up to [coach] Terry [Stotts]. We thought he was clearly the best talent on the board when we were selecting. But I think we saw a little bit of it last year with Eric Maynor. Damian's efficiency went through the roof when he moved off the ball a little bit, he was harder to load up on with defenses, it opened up his shooting and his ability to create secondary plays, instead of having to carry weight the entire possession. I think it's going to be a similar model with C.J. But you have to ask Terry when I'm done.

Four second round picks, all coming to camp, or?

I can't talk about it right now. We're only going to end up with three. [Grant Jerrett was later traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder]

What's most important: draft, free agency, trades?

Whatever you're doing at the time is the most crucial. Tonight, the draft is the most crucial. It's what we're pretty excited about. We'll enjoy it for about 10 hours and we'll wake up tomorrow morning and come up with a free agency strategy to get some veterans in here to help Terry so he doesn't have to play a kiddie corps.

Clearly we addressed some backcourt issues, some depth issues. I think Allen Crabbe is an elite shooter, good size, Pac-12 Player of the Year. I think he was a nice grab for us. We moved up with some future seconds to go get him at 31. We're pretty excited about that, he was much higher on our board. The way we play, we value shooting. C.J. -- obviously his versatility is huge for us, his ability to play two positions, to be able to complement not just Damian but Wesley [Matthews] as well is going to be big for us as well in terms of our rotation.

Then, we're really happy that Jeff [Withey] was there at 39. He's a man, he's a fifth-year senior, physically he can play in our league right away. He's an elite shot-blocker, he can protect the rim. He comes from a high-pedigree program with Kansas, he's another guy who is physically capable of helping us immediately. He's another guy who really helps us build our asset pool, kind of extend our talent base.

Come close to making big trade?

I can't speak for other teams, everybody was a bit thrown by how the draft started tonight. I think the top 10 was the top 10. The order was in a little bit of a state of flux, there was a flurry of activity. We didn't come close to making any substantial deals. We were in draft mode tonight, we weren't trying to generate anything that was going to invade our cap room unless it was someone that was going to project to be a starter.

Will you give Eric Maynor a qualifying offer after drafting C.J. McCollum?

We won't be extending Eric Maynor a qualifying offer but that [decision] had been made before the draft.

Does McCollum change approach to Maynor?

I don't want to speculate on free agents but clearly adding a 6-foot-3 combo guard -- He's not only the best player available but it addresses a need, gives us more flexibility. Those are discussions we'll have in July.

Free agency

There's a lot of money out there. There's a lot of teams under the cap. I don't know how much depth there is in free agency but clearly any time you have that many teams with $10 million or more of room, you're going to have a highly competitive marketplace. We're going to have to be aggressive, very strategic in terms of who we approach first. Prioritizing guys who can really help us next year, we don't want to be left out in the cold.

Clarify which second-round picks are roster guys next year?

Allen Crabbe at 31 -- he's going to be a player on our roster. So is Jeff Withey. Marko Todorovic, we had always come into this draft knowing we wanted to stash a guy in Europe. He has a couple years left on his contract, he's a good, young, versatile big, he plays for a great team in Barcelona. We just think he's a guy, with some grooming and seasoning, could be an asset for us. We never went into this thinking we would have three second-round picks and a first make our roster. We did stretch a little bit because of Jeff Withey being available at 39, we just felt like we wanted to draft two guys to make our team, but the value of somebody like Jeff available as late as 39 was just too good to pass up.

Second round picks

They were both higher on our board, I can say that. That's how we work, we work in tiers, we don't leave a lot to chance, we don't like a lot of subjectivity on draft night. When we hit certain points in our draft board, when guys are still available and their talent exceeds their draft position, we try and get very aggressive to obtain them. I think that was the case with Allen tonight and Jeff moved us into a mode where we were willing to draft rather than move it for a future second or stash a second European player.

Talent at top of draft

There's a lot of talent up there but I think the differentiation between them was very subjective and I'm sure everybody doing a press conference is ecstatic about who they got. It's not for me to say. I know we got a guy at 10 we had higher on our board that we've been coveting since all of us drove through snowstorms in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, last December to go see.

Try to trade up to ensure McCollum?

We didn't. One of the things, we didn't really have a lot of tools, it's one of the issues we're facing as we re-stock the pool a little bit. The assets that are acquired to make even a one spot jump in the top 10 was just not something we have on our roster right now. That's one of the reasons we got a little more aggressive and added three guys in the second as opposed to just two. That's something we're trying to do -- being able to make more deals with more assets that have a chance to become valued players by other teams around the league. I don't think it's even viable to think what we have right now as an asset going into tonight that would have moved us up.

As it turned out, we had 10 players that we would be content if any of them got to us. As it turned out, it was the exact 10 that went, just in a different order. We just happened to get lucky enough that the one guy we got was the guy we had rated much higher.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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