Draft Analysis/Moving Forward
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  1. kvin2
    kvin2
    Posts: 46

    Posted 06/26/2009 1:24 PM

    The draft is over, and I have done a fair deal of reading and thinking about this draft before writing an analysis of it because I wanted to get a feel for both the media and the fan perceptions of the draft, and KP and Nate's thoughts. So here's what I've come up with: Draft Expectations/Where we are as a Team: The perception that many have of this draft can be summed up by two words: Boring and Disappointed. However, I think it should be the exact opposite. The draft as a whole was exciting and unpredictable (Sota taking 3 PG's with its first 3 picks?) and made for great entertainment and debate. For the Blazers, it might have been boring, but I believe "Solid" and "Consistent" are better words to describe it. It was consistent in that KP and his team got the guys they were targeting, and got good players to stash away as per usual. It was solid in that KP and his team got good, quality players (more on the players a little further down). Now to address the Boring/Disappointed perception. KP has wowed us the previous 3 drafts, making blockbuster or exciting trades on draft day, shedding bad contracts, and getting building blocks for the future (Roy, LA, Rudy, Batum, Oden, Bayless). He made these moves because he HAD to, not because those are his Modus Operandi. We came to expect that every draft would be like those first three, when the exact opposite is true. Those types of trades are meant to bring in players to build a foundation for a team, or more correctly, the foundation for a championship team. That's what a rebuilding phase of a franchise is supposed to look like. But we are no longer rebuilding. A 54-win team can no longer be considered rebuilding, it is not contending. now we have to strengthen our weaknesses or we will never win a championship, and huge, blockbuster trades would only add youth, and more importantly, time, to when we win a championship(s). This draft was about adding pieces to a championship contender to shore up where we are weak. Our Draft Picks: Victor Claver (22). Great pick, but confusing for the spot. I thought we could have had him at 31 or 33, but then again I don't know the inside feel of the NBA. I thought KP would have gone with DeJuan "No ACL's" Blair, but those knee concerns probably were enough scare off the Blazers. But I love Claver and his potential to be a great SF/PF a few years down the road. Remember, he was the last player cut from the Olympic team, is olny 21, and is 6'9", 230 lbs. He'll fill out a bit more and be very good in a few years. This was definitely a pick to add a cheap, very good player in a few years while at the same time saving a roster spot and cap money this year. Jeff Prendergraph (31). Another solid pick, he was All-PAC 10 this year and is a 4 year senior who really knows how to play the game and is ready to bring it to the NBA. He's a tough guy who averaged 14.5 pts, 8.2 rbs and almost a block and an assist per last season. At 6'10", 240 lbs. KP expects him to compete for minutes next year behind LA. Dante Cunningham (33). Again, I thought they would have gone with "No ACL's" Blair here with him still on the board, but In KP We Trust. Another senior, he knows how to play the game, but is a bit undersized and somewhat of a tweener. He could be a good garbage time player or someone who could come in and knock some people around. He's tough and versatile, but I don't see him getting minutes behind LA, Outlaw, and Pendergraph. Patty Mills (55). My absolute, hands down favorite pick of this draft. Period. Chad Ford says the steal of the draft was "No ACL's" Blair to San Antonio at 47, but we have to remember one very important fact (this is important and I'm so excited it's going to be in all caps): IF PATTY MILLS DOESN'T BREAK HIS HAND THIS YEAR HE IS A LOTTERY PICK. Especially in this draft. He's fast as lighting, can shoot the ball, and he absolutely DESTROYED Stephon Curry in the NIT two years ago. He needs to work on his passing, but he was the leading scorer for Australia in the Olympics (remember, Andrew Bogut was on the Australian team too) and staring PG. He can play against the best, and play well. I would not be surprised at all to see him in the backup roll to Blake at some point this season if Bayless does not develop like KP and Nate hope. KP also made it abundantly clear that because he as a passport, he can go to Europe and develop for a year if need be. What now? The Blazers are in quite a situation. they are almost $9 million under the cap, and have a number of assets to be able to trade, along with small and mid sized trade exceptions (Sergio and Ike Diogu) from last year. So look for the offseason excitement this year to come not from the draft, but from free agency and trades. Here's a look at our team needs, briefly: SG/C: We're set. With Joel and Oden and Roy and Rudy, we're golden. Look for KP to possibly sign another C this off-season for the minimum, just as insurance. SF: I've said before, and will say again, this is the biggest question mark of our team. We have two knows, Batum (excellent) and Outlaw (stupid and plays no D), and one question mark in Webster. I expect for KP to take a wait-and-see approach here, as we don't yet know what Webster will give us (but KP and Nate expect it to be considerable, considering the 5-year deal he signed). PF: Another position where we have some stability at, thanks to LA. We appear to have addressed the backup spot, with Pendergraph, Cunningham, and Outlaw all expected to compete for minutes. Do we need to sign a FA or make a trade here? No. Could we to improve by pursuing Hedo Turkoglu, David Lee or someone else? Absolutely. I wouldn't be surprised if KP did something on this front, either a trade, sign-and-trade, or a FA signing, but would also not be surprised nor disappointed if he did nothing else. PG: I give PG it's own section because this is where I expect most of the action to be for the rest of the off season. By trading Sergio (needed, Ben on Blazers Edge has an excellent article on it), KP has ensured he will do SOMETHING this off season with the PG position. Outlaw, Bayless, Blake, Mills, Pendergraph, Cunningham, and possibly even Rudy are all expendable with the amount of roster flexibility we have. KP could do anything from signing Ramon Sessions to keeping Mills as the 3rd PG to making a big trade. With KP, the possibilities are endless. But you people need to stop your love affair with Jason Kidd. He can no longer win a championship (he proved that in Dallas), he hasn't been able to guard ANYBODY for years now, and he can't shoot. I would rather have Steve Blake as out starting PG than Kidd ANYDAY. Hell, I'd rather have Bayless over Kidd. I'd almost rather have Patty Mills over Kidd. He is 36 and washed up. He scored 9 PTS a game last year, and has played in 1107 games, not counting playoffs, and is done. PLEASE STOP SAYING YOU WANT KIDD ON THIS TEAM. HE CAN NO LONGER PLAY. HE SUCKS. PERIOD, END OF STORY.
    I am a fan of B-Roy changing EVERYTHING.
  1. kvin2
    kvin2
    Posts: 46

    Posted 06/26/2009 1:25 PM

    Sorry. It got rid of my spacing and paragraphs. What a waste.
    I am a fan of B-Roy changing EVERYTHING.
  1. RipCityRevival
    RipCityRevival
    Posts: 684

    Posted 06/26/2009 6:37 PM

    Okay, so forgive me, I pulled a high school english student on this one and read the beginning 10 lines and then skipped to the end. Frankly, I agree on the draft, like what was done. From my understanding, Dejuan Blair had some OTHER issues, outside of the knees, that turned the Blazers off. It was not disclosed, but judging from what I've heard, it sounds like he has a bit of a D-Miles complex. As far as Kidd goes, I think he would still be good in limited time. He can start, get frequent breaks, and ultimately train Bayless to become that great PG and/or push Blake to another level. Blake did get better between when he played in Portland the first time and then when we picked him up again. That was partly due to playing with Andre Miller in Denver. Nobody will stop throwing out Kidd because Nate likes him, he played on the Olympic Team, he has improved his shot and is one of THE BEST LEADERS in the NBA. Defensive liability? Maybe, but if he can't keep the player in front of him, he knows to atleast funnel him into the paint where Aldrige, Oden, Martel, or Batum can all be there to block from the off side. He may not have the speed he once did, but he plays smarter now. I think he has a lot to contribute to this team mentally if not physically, which is one of the things noted this team has lacked (the mental aspect). Really, it comes down to breaking down what this team has vs. what it lacks and how to get that without really sacrificing what it already has and Kidd gives you a good risk vs. reward turnover based off all the weapons this team already has. That is why until the team gets someone else, he will always be in the talks. Sorry, it's reality. I hope for your sake they sign someone soon so you can stop worrying who it will or will not be. I am excited that KP obviously has a direction he's going and I trust him and Nate to make the best decision for this team.

    I am a fan of Good basketball, great fans and Rip City!
  1. egstexan01
    egstexan01
    Posts: 48

    Posted 06/26/2009 8:59 PM

    Yea I believe those are pretty good assessments of the team moving forward. I wanted to see from someone why there is so much hate for Travis Outlaw, because maybe I'm missing it.  He has improved every year he has been with the team in different phases of his game. Now yes much like most players he has his faults, but his assets far outweigh any of these bad things he does that makes our fans disown him so quickly.  Is he not one of our more clutch players, is he not one of the best sixth men in the league where there are many good ones I mean he's one of the biggest reasons why our bench is one of the best in the NBA which is a very important portion of why we are a consistent and very good team now. So I would just wish that everyone pointing out his deficiencies would consider all that he brings to the team. Also I seen someone actually try to degrade Jason Kidd as someone who can't play by pointing out how much he scores per game and his inability to guard some of the quicker points in the league. Well have you considered his great abilities to control and run a team, pushing the ball up and down the floor allowing for his teams to be very good in transition(8.7 apg [08-09] easily ranking 1st on the team this past season), hitting open shots especially from long distance(40.6 % [08-09]) further creating room in the paint for his teams' big men to operate (creating more points in the paint), his great ability to rebound at his position (one of the best at PG in history - 6.2 rpg [08-09] which would've ranked 4th on the WHOLE team this past season including big men) and that horrible defense that was spoken of, yea to the tune of 1.98 spg ranking third in the NBA so he must be making up for that so called lack of guarding quicker players with great anticipation and veteran savvy. Obviously too long of a post to say one thing if any team in this league can't use a guy like this on their team for its improvement and possible championship contention then that team doesn't exist in the NBA. Just because he's old doesn't mean he can't contribute in a huge way and help our younger players grow up like they should in this league.
    I am a fan of the beautiful cohesiveness of my blazers, reminding me of why I've loved this franchise for much of my young life despite being a texan....
  1. RipCityRevival
    RipCityRevival
    Posts: 684

    Posted 06/26/2009 10:28 PM

    Yeah, I totally agree about Kidd. Now I personally am not a Travis hater, but I can see both sides of this. My personal feeling is that he will be a contributer to any team in the league. My knock against him is that several times EVERY game I screamed at him "WHY'D YOU SHOOT THAT!?!" I still love Travis though. I just think that with the pieces Portland has, there is not enough room anymore for him to get the opportunities he deserves. I also think that although his athleticism shows unlimited potential, his inability to learn the GAME of basketball, the mental savvy, shows that his ceiling is not as high as originally thought. I think it comes down to you have Batum, Rudy, Martel, and Roy playing the 3 position at any given time in a game. Not a single one of those are you going to sit for Travis unless they are injured. I have no hate for him, but I think he can have a better career now playing elsewhere, and at the same time Portland can use that space to fill the holes they still have. That is my view on it.
    I am a fan of Good basketball, great fans and Rip City!
  1. ripcitychamps
    ripcitychamps
    Posts: 31

    Posted 06/27/2009 10:37 AM

    Pendergraph can provide as an excellent backup PF to LaMarcus and I would call him one of the 'diamonds in the rough' or 'gems' in this years draft.
    I am a fan of WHY THE HECK HAVE WE NOT EXTENDED BRANDON ROY'S CONTRACT???
  1. kvin2
    kvin2
    Posts: 46

    Posted 06/27/2009 2:46 PM

    Here's my take on both Kidd and Outlaw: Kidd: Yes, he had almost 2 steals a game. Yes, he is a good passer, creates for his team mates and got a few triple doubles last year. But there are 3 reason's he's a bad fit for our team: 1) He can't play defense. Period. End of story. Anyone who says otherwise has just not watched him play. His defensive liabilities don't just extend to the "quick" PG's of the league, because I could get past Kidd at this point. Yes, we have Oden, Przybilla, Batum and Roy, but as we saw ALL of last year, quick PG's destroyed our team last year, we couldn't do anything against them. That was one of the main reasons we lost the Houston series, because Aaron Brooks blew past out PG's to be able to create for the rest of his team. We don't need another defensive liability at point Further, he's OLD (36). He's hit the magical 1000 game mark. 1100, as a matter of fact. He's WILL start slowing down soon. Very, very, soon. Because of this, he's going to be an even BIGGER defensive liability, and he will lose the thing that makes him him: he likes to run. He likes to run and push the tempo. 2) He's a horrible fit for this team. Let's say for sake of argument that he doesn't slow down, just for fun. He's still a HORRIBLE fit for this team. The biggest reason we lost the Houston series is because of Nate McMillan. He REFUSED to go small and push the tempo, which is when we had our biggest advantage. Nate likes half-court basketball. The Blazers are a great defensive, slow paced team, which is what wins in the playoffs. That is NOT Jason Kidd's style. He likes to run and push the tempo. And we saw that Nate refused to do that even when it would have given us a better shot to win the series. So Nate won't let him play how he plays best. What's the point? He just does not fit our style of play. Also, Bayless, for the time being, is the PG of the future. Kidd, while he would be a good teacher, would ONLY limit Bayless' playing time, further hurting his growth. 3) He's too expensive. At 36, he realizes he only has 2-4 years left in the NBA. Tops. Probably only two as an effective starter or (more likely) a backup contributor. So he's looking for one last payday. I've heard he wants anywhere from $5-10 million PER YEAR. Why, when we only have Webster and Przybilla signed through next year, would we want to give that kind of money to a 36 year old, no D playing, PG? Outlaw: It's pretty simple. He might be a great teammate in the locker room, but he's just not a good player overall. He doesn't play D. We know this. Everyone knows this. He also has a VERY low basketball IQ. He takes shots he shouldn't, and just plays selfishly. I know people like him personally, but I feel it is best for the team if we trade is 4 mil expiring contract this year to help clear up some minutes for players like Martell, Rudy, and Batum.
    I am a fan of B-Roy changing EVERYTHING.
  1. RipCityRevival
    RipCityRevival
    Posts: 684

    Posted 06/27/2009 4:22 PM

    I realize we will just be talking in circles here, but I have to fall into the trap in order to feel good. Jason Kidd is a gambler. He goes after steals when he sees them. In today's game this always makes a player look bad defensively because if they don't get the steal the player gets around them and gets to make a play. I think he has a great respect for Nate, and Nate could teach him something about being an effective, aging PG in the league because he had to do that himself. Yeah, I know that Avery Johnson did too, but Avery Johnson isn't the quality coach Nate is. He doesn't have the personal skills or the reputation that Nate does and I think Kidd would listen to what ever Nate told him to do. I think Nate could fit him into this team. I also think that part of the reason Nate didn't have them run much is because he didn't trust his guards to run with it. They hadn't proven that they could do that effectively, and Roy works best with the ball in his hands anyway so it is hard to run when Roy has his own speed. I think Kidd would fit, unfortunately, like I said we will continue to talk in circles until something gets done so I can't wait to read your reply, though I hope it is a little shorter.

    I am a fan of Good basketball, great fans and Rip City!
  1. kvin2
    kvin2
    Posts: 46

    Posted 06/27/2009 5:06 PM

    If we don't talk in circles, then why are we here? Here's the thing though, You didn't answer my concerns about him fitting in finically, or the fact he is old. Yeah he gets steals, but that just proves he has good hands. And 2 steals a game, while nice, doesn't do us any good if we don't push the tempo and run with it. Steals DO NOT equal good defense. He can't stay in front ANYONE. Plus, he's so old!! He's played in 1100 games. The 1000 game mark for NBA players is huge, cuz that's traditionally when they start breaking down, getting slower, etc. He's not a huge injury risk, but that doesn't change the fact he hurts us finically long-term, and hurts Bayless' PT and growth long-term. We are better off with Blake as our starting PG and Bayless as our backup than with Kidd on the team.
    I am a fan of B-Roy changing EVERYTHING.
  1. egstexan01
    egstexan01
    Posts: 48

    Posted 06/27/2009 5:08 PM

    Ok as a man I can accept the very good reasoning for the positions taken on the two players(Travis Outlaw, Jason Kidd) that I happen to have brought up in regards to either being on this team next year or not. Thanks Kvin I guess I took your comments to heart about both because I happen to like both players and I can see how these things make our team better based on your points. In the end that will always what I want for this team is the best opportunity to win in any reasonable fashion it can happen. Especially I like your points when it comes to making room (creating minutes) for some of the other valuable contributors on this team (SF - Martell, Rudy, Batum....PG - Bayless) so thanks again.
    I am a fan of the beautiful cohesiveness of my blazers, reminding me of why I've loved this franchise for much of my young life despite being a texan....
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