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Larry Miller and Kevin Pritchard Speak

Immediately after the draft tonight, both Mr. Miller and Mr. Pritchard spoke with Portland media via telephone from New York City. The cards still remain close to the chest, but they did have the following to say...

Miller on his initial thoughts: "I was a little disappointed, I was definitely hoping that we would be higher than that, but I guess all in all when you look at where our team is, where we are right now as an organization, I couldn't feel too bad about us not getting a higher pick."

Miller on the perception of Portland around the league: "Everyone I talked to around the NBA is saying, 'hey you guys are in a great situation right now.' It's interesting to hear those comments because they feel good about where we are now, as we do."

Miller on talking with the Bulls: "I just congratulated them.  They were excited. I don't think they expected it. Like we were last year... They were surprised, just as we were last year."

Pritchard on the scene before the draft: "I was trying to do everything I did last year.  Putting some jedi mind tricks on the balls and unfortunately it didnt work.  We hit 3 of the 4 ping pong balls for the number one pick, we came pretty close... 11, 9 and 13 and those were our numbers...  [for the last ball] 7 came up and 12 is what we needed."

Pritchard on the result: "I was talking to Tom Penn, we don't make luck our policy. We were happy to get lucky last year but we are going to have to work hard and make some good moves. We've got Greg and Rudy coming, we hope, and we're going to have to be active. That's never been something we've been shy to do. I do like this draft at 13.  Some may be a little further from making an impact but I do believe

Pritchard on the chances of trading the pick: "Oh, I hate to even talk about it. We will explore all the options, we will explore trading it, and see what it brings and evaluate that versus the actual pick itself."

Pritchard on the top of the draft: "I think at 3 there are a lot of players that could go 3. Number one and two, that's done. To get into the first two picks, you'll have to give up an all star and a pretty good starter.  And they're going to get offers. It's going to be an interesting dynamic in Chicago as Rose is from there and they have begged for a low post scorer over the last 3, 4 years. It will be interesting to see which way they will go."

Pritchard on trading the the #13 pick: "I'm going to have some discussions. That's my job, right?"

Pritchard on when the workouts start: "June 4... We started [lining up workouts] already. None of the top players would commit before the draft lottery. For the second round guys, for the guys on the bubble, we've already started that process [of lining up workouts]."

Pritchard on getting more youth versus getting more experience: "I think we need more good players."

Pritchard on whether this team will be in the playoffs next year:  "I hope so. Larry and I talked about that quite a bit. We feel that we don't want to make this trek [to the draft lottery]... I like the direction, I think we have a chance to improve on our 41 wins. The question comes down to, "What will it take to get into the playoffs next year. Shoot, it might take 50 wins."

Pritchard on the team's needs: "We need to get more athletic in the backcourt. We need to look at shooting and make that a priority." 

Pritchard on how many players he will look at with the #13 pick: "7 or 8."

Pritchard on what positions he's looking at: "All over."

Pritchard on the Best Player Available strategy vs. addressing specific needs: "We will have to weight it. We will look in free agency and see what's out there. Which we already have done. And compare that to what we could get in the draft.  I tend to go for best player available. I've done that in the past and it seems to work for us. I do think as we grow as an organization we try to plug holes and make sure players fit. In terms of what they do and how they are as a person. We are going to say no to some players [for that reason]."

Pritchard on his good luck charm: "i brought my daughter."

Pritchard on trading the second round picks: "We could. They will have to be part of bigger deals. I do like having them. It allows us to move up to the first round if we want to. It allows us to have liquid chips to move forward with. They are nice to have."

Pritchard on whether he will draft a foreign player: "We're going to look at everybody. There are a couple guys that could be there that are interesting players. If he's foreign or United States or Italian, it doesn't really matter."

Pritchard on the quality of the draft: "Two players at the very top who are very talented. We all know those two players. From 3 to 20 you've got a bunch of players, some are better than others in terms of making a quicker impact. I do believe at 13 there are impact guys."

-- Ben (