John Canzano of The Oregonian writes that the Portland Trail Blazers shouldn't be in a rush to trade their No. 10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft because using the pick could help their rebuilding effort.
But the whisper coming from One Center Court in recent days has been that Portland isn't currently enamored by any one player and if they were drafting today they'd deal the pick. And to that, I'd encourage the Blazers to take a look in the mirror and acknowledge they're among the thinnest teams in the NBA. If they don't recognize that there's someone in this draft -- yes, even available 10th -- who can help coach Terry Stotts win, then this franchise must be disillusioned.
Here's hoping the Blazers are bluffing.
One of the toughest tasks that a rebuilding team in a small market faces is accurately assessing its talent. The tendency is to overvalue what you have. This results in restricted free agents being paid more than market value, and with the organization stubbornly insisting that second-rotation players are starters. And in the end, this narrow mind-set is especially detrimental when a team is faced with a thin draft and trying to assess where raw, underdeveloped college players might fit in their rotation.
Rookie Will Barton won't like to hear this, but that No. 10 pick has to press him for minutes. The pick has to put pressure on Matthews and Batum to perform better. It has to be a player who can defend, and play quality minutes. Because while there isn't a generational player available where Portland is slotted, in a given draft there are terrific players who are picked between Nos. 10 and 20.
PS Thanks to KVin2 in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter