1983 NBA Mock Draft v2.0 by Chad Ford
Portland Trail Blazers #14 Pick
The Blazers, who are coming off a promising 1982-1983 campaign which saw a memorable 15 game winning streak, are sitting pretty in the #14 spot. With a solid young core and all-star talent, all signs point to selecting the Best Player Available-- ideally adding depth to their young, thin frontcourt.
Heady two guard Jim Paxson is indefatigable, playing in 81 games and notching a total of 2740 minutes played on his way to an all star season. Paxson is backed up by a roster that features good depth at the guard spots (Fat Lever, who showed all the promise in the world on the offensive end this year, and Darnell Valentine, who is both a solid passer and finisher). It's unlikely any guard available at the number 14 spot in this year's draft will see playing time in the near future.
The Blazers get good production from their front court starters, including SF Calvin Natt (instant offense to the tune of 20 ppg), and PF Mychal Thompson (young and super talented, tremendous upside) but remain relatively thin on the front line. C Wayne Cooper and F Kenny Carr round out the rotation but drafting to bolster the 4 or 5 spot would seem like the logical choice here.
I can see this pick going a few directions:
- Pick for need. Sure, at #14, the most talented bigs (Ralph Sampson, Thurl Bailey and Antoine Carr) will be long gone. But this draft enjoys great depth at the 5 spot. I would lean toward Randy Breuer or Greg Kite-who both have great size, have shown solid skills and should enjoy long NBA careers. Odds on, the Blazers pick whichever of these two guys their scouts like best-- and go home the big winners of the night.
- Get Guardy. There might be a temptation to look at Houston's Clyde Drexler, the high-flying Phi Slamma Jamma two guard if he's still on the board. Certainly if the fanbase was in charge of the selection they might go this route. Leaguewide, Drexler has taken a plunge due to questions about his basketball IQ and ability to finish off big games (coulda, shoulda won the title... but didn't)... these are concerns that I definitely share. Drexler surely benefitted from playing alongside Akeem at Houston and the big worry is that his athleticism might not translate to a structured NBA offense. A better pick in my book? John Paxson. Imagine the synergistic talent and intelligence gained by pairing John with brother Jim. John is without question a known commodity (just look at his brother Jim, they are almost identical)- the more I think about it, the more I like the sound of the Flying Paxsons. That has NBA title written all over it.
- Go International. At face value, this seems like a left field option (especially in the first round, as the Blazers will have the chance to take a flyer on someone in both the 2nd and 3rd rounds). But the team isn't called the "Trailbazers" because they take the road most travelled. The team will seriously consider drafting and developing a talented but unknown foreign player (eg. Italian wunderkind David Decardilino of AC Milan). As satellite television hasn't yet been invented, I can't speak directly to the particulars of Decardilino's game, but John Hollinger raves about him. I have also heard a number of NBA front office men whisper that Portland might take a shot here thinking that their small-market is the perfect petri dish for developing foreign talent. This would take guts (and would seem to be a long shot) but the Blazers have proven themselves solid assessors of talent in recent years (Fat Lever, Darnell Valentine), so it's definitely on the table.
Conclusion: Breuer, Kite or Paxson and you can pencil these guys into the playoffs again next year (and for years to come)!
-- Ben (email@example.com)