Since everyone seems to be doing an early draft report, I might as well chime in (why not, it's easy to copy what other people do). There are some ground rules, obviously it would be nice to have Oden or Durant. We don't really need to discuss it unless they win the Lottery. Rest assured, both myself and The Other Guy have our theories on what they should do, but we're going with the realistic approach today, that they'll be picking somewhere in the 7-10 range of the draft. We also know that they need a small forward, so that's where we'll concentrate our efforts for now. Here's a preliminary look at potential players they could draft.
Guys I Like:
Julian Wright, Kansas. Probably going to go too high for Portland, he's a do everything small forward. Described as a more aggressive Boris Diaw on ESPN.com, not sure if that's a compliment or not. A terrific defender that passes really well, he looks more like a Scottie Pippen type to me, and they even say he's got the ability to play a point forward like Scottie did. The only problem is he can't really shoot, which could deter the Blazers, they need shooters.
Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech. This looks like your classic Trader Bob pick, uber athletic, attacks the basket, streaky shooter, really fun to watch. He actually reminds me a lot of Outlaw, ESPN's comparison is Al Harrington.
Chase Budinger, Arizona. This one could be my first pick for our team. Very versatile, tough as nails, can knock down jumpers and is a very good rebounder for a small forward. He's a lock to be the most despised guy in the league by rival teams. Dagger 3's, looks like he would have been in the Cobra Kai, you get the picture, he's the guy you want out there with Sergio and Roy on the wings to throw in some attitude.
Spencer Hawes, The Scumsucking Road Whores. Let's see, soft center that will get tossed around, only looks real good when he's being guarded by a guy that's way shorter or less athletic (pretty sure that's not happening in the NBA) and always gets the less rugged defender because of Brockman, and oh yeah, he's a Husky.
Brook Lopez, Stanford. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw him in the top 10 today. Um...no, not in this class.
Al Thornton, Florida State. You'd think I'd learn my lesson with the good college senior now that we have Brandon Roy, but he looks like the classic tweener 3/4 that played the 4 in college but can't quite play there in the NBA and would get eaten alive by good 3's. In other words, he wins the honorary Fennis Dembo Award.
Josh McRoberts, Duke. His chances of being even a remotely good NBA player are somewhere between zero and, well, zero.
Yi Jianlian, China. This would be very Blazer of them, I have never seen him play, but he projects as a 7 foot Tony Kukoc. I know the knock is he's probably a bit soft but when I see that there's a 7 footer that can shoot and is a terrific ball handler and has a high basketball IQ, well, I'm intrigued. Considering the Blazers marketing department might be salivating over him, it's certainly possible.