This board does not attempt to predict who the Blazers will select, who will be the best professional or who is the best player today. This board aims to answer the question "Who would I be least surprised to see drafted by the Blazers this year, regardless of pick?" This board only ranks players that have worked out in Portland.
After today's workouts we see 4 new players on the board, including new guys at both #1 and #2.
OK, things are starting to get tricky as more talent trickles through the Practice Facility. Horrible alliteration there.
Pendergraph shoots straight to the top of the board because of his physical skills, his likely availability at pick 24, his good locker room presence, intelligence and personality, his energy and, most importantly, his NBA readiness. If the Blazers keep their pick at 24, he seems like a great option. There's no really strong argument against him. Also, I'm reliably informed that his advanced stats are near the very top of the nation for college players as well. The fact that he plays a position that the Blazers have identified as a need is just the icing on the cake.
Collison slots in right behind Pendergraph for his toughness, experience, defensive skills, quickness, penetrating abilities, and ability to complement the games of Blake and/or Bayless. Management hasn't seemed particularly keen on drafting a point guard but if Collison is available and some of the Power Forwards are off the board, it's easy to see him picked at #24.
Hansbrough might be the most familiar name on the board but he slots in below a number of players, including 2 of his college teammates, because of the likelihood that he is gone by pick 24 and the price it would take for the Blazers to move up and grab him. Do you really trade up for a backup power forward in this draft if you're as conscious about cap flexibility as the Blazers seem to be? I'm not sure. But it's a possibility given rumors that some teams in the late lottery are looking to move down.
Cunningham was mentioned as having a number of desirable qualities today: energy, toughness, NBA readiness, etc. He should certainly be available and the Blazers might have multiple cracks at him. The enthusiasm from management about his skills didn't seem overwhelming though so I have a hard time ranking him higher than 8.
Johnson... Because the Blazers repeated multiple times today that they are focusing on NBA-readiness and fit, I knocked Chris Johnson down a bit. If the team does choose to use one of its late second round picks I think he's still a good possibility. But if their gameplan is to get 1 or 2 NBA-ready guys from this draft and then dump the rest of the picks (would seem like a pretty solid strategy) he probably goes undrafted.
Casspi could fall down this board for the same reason. For now, I'm leaving him close to the top until at least Friday, when the next workout is set to take place. At that point, if the Blazers continue to suggest they are looking for an impact player and indicate that draft-and-stashing is not a high priority, Casspi could be downgraded.
Bumped off Board
- Jerel McNeal -- 1 -- Marquette -- #7
- Jeff Adrien -- 4 -- Connecticut -- #8
- Jonas Jerebko -- 3 -- Sweden -- #9
- Jermaine Taylor -- 2 -- Central Florida -- #10