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2011 NBA Draft: Portland Trail Blazers Grades & Reaction

Here's a podcast I did with Matt Norlander of about the 2011 NBA Draft experience from Newark. Includes some Blazers talk.

Here's a podcast I did with Chad Doing on the Morning Sports Page on 750 AM The Game.

Assorted reaction and grades for the Portland Trail Blazers' 2011 NBA Draft from trusted voices around the internet.

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian writes...

But the crown jewel of the night was Felton. And, it turns out, he has been a target of the organization for some time. After playing five seasons for the Charlotte Bobcats, who drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2005, Felton signed a two-year free agent contract with the New York Knicks last summer. Along the way, he flirted with the Blazers.

"We were close to signing with them," Felton's agent, Tony Dutt, said. "They were our second choice."

Dwight Jaynes of writes...

I liked that they seemed to target who they wanted and got them. Raymond Felton is not a home run. A standup double, maybe. But he's the guy Portland wanted and so mission accomplished. Same with Nolan Smith. I know very well that they loved Smith's ability to run the pick-and-roll and his overall basketball IQ.

"I thought we did a good job of improving the team tonight," Coach Nate McMillan said. "Raymond will be more of a guard involved in pick and rolls and have the ability to spread the floor.

Chad Ford of writes...


Analysis: The Blazers reached for a guy whose ceiling appears to be as a sixth man. Smith is solid, and maybe at No. 21, solid is good enough. But I thought players like Reggie Jackson and Marshon Brooks offered more upside.

At No. 51, they got Diebler, maybe the best spot-up shooter in the draft.

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports writes...

Grade: C-

Portland needed to trade Andre Miller, I get it. And though taking in Ray Felton is a good thing despite his inconsistency and conditioning issues, dumping Rudy Fernandez along the way and picking Smith as your supposed prize from this draft just leaves me, literally as I write this, shaking my head. They couldn't even pull Jordan Hamilton out of the deal.

Felton is younger than Miller, and their contracts run along the same lines. But to dump two rotation players plus a potential prospect (Petteri Koponen) for Smith and Felton? Not the best of nights.

Jon Diebler can shoot. For Bakersfield.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes...

Loser: Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers traded one of the most underappreciated players in point guard Andre Miller to the Denver Nuggets and sent athletic guard Rudy Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks while acquiring point guard Raymond Felton in a three-team trade. The Nuggets were disappointed with Felton after a lackluster offensive-minded performance in the playoffs and were determined to trade him. While Felton is a solid starting point guard, he's not as experienced a floor leader as Miller. Friends close to Nuggets coach George Karl said he was thrilled about the return of Miller, whom he hated to see dealt in the Allen Iverson trade on Dec. 19, 2006. While Fernandez wanted out, the Blazers helped the NBA champion Mavericks and lost an insurance policy for injury-prone guard Brandon Roy.

Tom Ziller of SB Nation NBA writes...

Is Felton an upgrade on Miller? This could be the great question of our times. Felton isn't a great deep shooter but can fill it up a bit, here and there. He did well in theCharlotte Bobcats' slowdown attack for five years. He's a nice defender and distributor. He's like the definition of "OK." Raymond "OK" Felton, NBA point guard.

Miller, at this point, is about the same: a middling shooter, a distributor of some note, a decent defender, an "OK" point guard. Both of the players are on one-year contracts. Neither is expensive or cheap. The Denver Nuggets have Ty Lawson, a legit good point guard, as a starter. The Blazers don't. So if both teams tried to tread water with the deal, Denver can afford to. Portland can't.

That Portland also had to give up Fernandez and the rights to Koponen (who had grown tired of the Blazers' unwillingness to bring him over -- he's a promising point guard, by the way) is further madness. As Blazer's Edge's Dave notes, this is the big shake-up to get this team on track? Really?

Grade: D-

Sean Deveny of writes...

Portland Trail Blazers: F. Huh? Does trading for Felton fit in with Nate McMillan's slow-it-down style? Why give away Fernandez and Miller for a marginal starter at point guard? And to stretch for Nolan Smith at 21?

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk writes...

Portland Trail Blazers (48-34): At the end of what seemed a busy day they ended up with Raymond Felton - younger but not much better than what they had - and a couple of nice shooters who don't do much else. This is the same team it was 24 hours ago, basically.
Grade: C

Jeff Goodman of writes...

This might have been the highest-character duo in the history of the draft. Smith will be a solid role guy while Diebler can shoot the ball anywhere.
Grade: C+

My thoughts on Twitter...

Draft grade: C- for Blazers. Paid a lot to move sideways. Didn't negotiate from position of strength.

Raymond Felton not locked up long-term, so answered 0 questions. Lost rotation player in process. Point guard cycle churns on.

C- isn't too high. Chance to re-sign Felton, who has future. Miller didn't. Entering summer 2012 w/ no PG would've been worse.

Rich Cho methodically acquired targets & started rebuild for Charlotte Bobcats. Blazers would be better today w/ him. No question.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter