This weekend we're going to take a look at some of the Blazers' prospects if they're willing to move up in the draft. Because these players are generally more intriguing than the possibilities at #24 we're going to look at them individually or in pairs. We're going to start the weekend with the forward who has folks buzzing wherever he goes, Tyler Hansbrough.
Tyler Hansbrough 6'9" 230lb projected PF from UNC
Why He Could Be the Guy
Hansbrough fits the Blazers' culture. He's got a huge work ethic, he's aggressive, by most accounts he's not fond of losing. He's an offensive guy with a variety of moves, a necessity for Portland power forwards at this point. He was a free throw machine in college, drawing and hitting about a billion of them. That makes him quite efficient. He can rebound too. He's played at a high level and against high level competition. If they think he's serviceable I don't think the Blazers will be scared by his age or the fact that he spent four years in school. They may consider those assets. Power forward is also the sweet spot for the Blazers drafting. They have a need there but they also have a firm starter, allowing the draftee a chance to play but also progress at his own pace.
Why He Might Not Be the Guy
He's not a defender, though you do ask how much of a requirement that is at this point with Oden and Przybilla also in the frontcourt. He's strong but not quick or an overwhelming athlete. We're living in the Kevin Garnett/LaMarcus Aldridge/Josh Smith era of NBA power forwards and it shows no sign of ending soon. The prototype is 6'11", hyper-athletic, and mobile. Hansbrough is almost an anachronism in that way: shorter, less wingspan, more ground-bound. If you're drafting your back-up forward maybe you don't have a problem but as we talked about on the podcast today, it's not really a good idea to draft back-up players, especially outside of the second round. You draft guys you hope can start and play 35 minutes for you and then let them settle into the backup role if that's all the higher they end up getting. Either that or you just get a veteran to fill those minutes. It's a lot less trouble. Plus you're probably going to have to trade up to get him. Unless your trading partner wants a trade exception or second-rounders that means losing another young player with talent to pick up this one. In most cases that's going to be a lateral move at best for the Blazers.
What's your call on Hansbrough? Do you want him? If so, at what price point? What would you give up in order to move up to get him?