Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where Will Portland Draft? The Final Answer

Before we get to Portland, let's review the two big stories from yesterday's NBA action.

It's Cold In Chicago

A bad, bad night for Bulls yesterday. Not only did they lose to New Jersey and drop themselves from a #2 seed and a piece-of-cake first round home matchup with Washington, followed by a probable second-round matchup with Toronto; now they're a #5 seed who has to go to Miami in the first round and Detroit in the second. Eeesh. And just to pile on, the Knicks -- who's first round pick Chicago will be getting in this year's draft thanks to the Eddy Curry trade -- won their game on a last-second Eddy Curry tip in and moved from a potential #6 pick back to the #9-10 range. Ouch.

Party Time in The Bay Area

The Golden State Warriors are in the playoffs for the first time since 1994. They're a very fun team to watch; very much a poor-man's -- okay, a homeless man's -- version of the Phoenix Suns. They're fast as hell, they push the ball, and they can shoot. The first-round matchup against Dallas would be a nightmare for most teams but Golden State is one of few teams who can keep up with them. The Warriors have won their last 5 consecutive games against Dallas dating back to last season, and though I don't think they'll the series, it will be an entertaining one. Congrats to a talented team who deserves to be there.

And Finally ...

The end of season standings. As you'll recall from yesterday, here's where we stood:

11: Philly, 34-47
10, 9: Sacramento & Charlotte, 33-48
8, 7, 6: New York, Minnesota & Portland, 32-49
5: Seattle, 31-50

Philly won. Sacramento and Charlotte lost. New York won, and Minnesota and Portland lost. Seattle also lost. Leaving us with a final standings of:
5. Seattle, 31-51

6. Portland, 32-50
6(t). Minnesota, 32-50

8. New York, 33-49 (This is actually Chicago because of the Curry trade)
8(t). Sacramento, 33-49
8 (t). Charlotte, 33-49

11. Philly, 35-47
11(t). Indiana, 35-47

So, as you can see, Portland will very likely either be drafting in the #6 or #7 spot. That could change, though. Obviously if Portland wins the lottery, they could get a top-3 spot which is not very likely. The flip-side of that is if a team behind Portland wins the lottery and snags a top-3 spot, the Blazers could potentially get pushed back.

Neither of those are very likely to happen, so let's assume Portland is in the #6 or #7 spot. Fortunately for us, the draft is CHOCK full of small forwards and centers who would all be good value picks in that range. Players that would both be a good fit and are likely to be drafted in that range include:
  • Al Horford
  • Yi Jianlian
  • Jeff Green
  • Corey Brewer
  • Roy Hibbert
  • Julian Wright
  • Joakim Noah

Assuming Portland keeps their pick, it's nearly a lock that they end up with one of those guys. Between having a good pick in a loaded draft, and our new GM, it will be a fun offseason for the Blazers.

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