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SI: Opposing NBA Scout Wonders Whether Blazers Should Tank For No. 1 Draft Pick

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An NBA scout from an opposing team breaks down the 2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

As part of its NBA preview issue, Sports Illustrated has solicited analysis from an opposing team's scout on the Portland Trail Blazers. Here are a few excerpts.

Where are they going? For a young team that everybody liked not so long ago, this has been an amazing drop. If I'm LaMarcus Aldridge, I'm thinking I got a bum deal. He was thinking he would have Brandon Roy and Greg Oden around him and now they're both gone.

...

If you're trying to win a championship, then I think you can get there with Aldridge as your No. 2 or No. 3 player. Put it this way: I'd take him over Chris Bosh. Aldridge has improved a lot. He keeps getting better and better, and he has improved his consistency. He's fine in the post, but what he does best is shoot the crap out of it. If he has a size advantage, he turns around and shoots it over people. His shot is what makes him special.

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J.J. Hickson was so bad last year in Sacramento, and then he went to Portland [after being waived] and looked so good. But I would point out that the Blazers lost most of those games. He was supposed to be such a promising young player in Cleveland that they wouldn't trade him, and I thought that was the most ridiculous thing ever. He does everything OK and nothing great, though he can be a very good offensive rebounder.

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I'm wondering if they should try to make a run at getting the No. 1 pick this year. They've got Aldridge and one more established NBA starter in Batum, and that's it. Their big job is going to be to sell Aldridge on the program and that they're going to turn it around quickly. They also have to keep Lillard from getting ruined while they're losing a lot of games, and they have to be a hustling team because that's the only way they'll have any hope of keeping the fans on their side.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter