The Portland Trail Blazers are the draft lottery’s biggest winners behind the New Orleans Hornets, as they now officially own the No. 6 and No. 11 picks in 2012 NBA draft.
Knowing where Portland will be picking this summer, the question now becomes, what do the Blazers do with these picks as they head into one of the most important summers in franchise history?
Scenario 1—Draft For Need:
The Trail Blazers have a number of needs, but the point guard and center positions are arguably the most important areas to address heading into the offseason. Backcourt scoring and depth on the perimeter are also issues, but with prospects available at the most needed positions, Portland could use their two picks to target players who will balance out the rotation next year. Andre Drummond or Tyler Zeller could fill in at the center position, while Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall could prove to be Portland’s long-desired point guard of the future.
Scenario 2—Draft For Talent:
The Blazers used the need-over-talent argument when drafting Greg Oden, and while no one foresaw Oden’s career playing out the way it has, the concept of taking the best available player is one to look at closely this time around. Drummond and Lillard are players who would ideally meet both the talent and need requirements, but with questions regarding their NBA ceilings, taking the safer picks might be in order this time around. Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb and John Henson should all be available when Portland drafts, and they’ve each appeared to be solid prospects with NBA-ready qualities.
Scenario 3—Trade Up In Lottery:
If the Blazers do decide to draft for talent, one option will be to package both picks in an attempt to crack the top three. If acquiring talent is a priority this summer for the Blazers, there’s no better way to find great players for cheap than at the beginning of the draft. A player such as Bradley Beal out of the University of Florida would be a great fit in Portland’s backcourt, and if the team strikes a deal with either the Washington Wizards or Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, they could be in prime position to add Beal to the rotation next season.
Scenario 4—Trade Out Of Lottery:
With an incoming draft class that is being regarded as one of the most talented to enter the NBA in recent memory, there are a number of teams who would likely trade proven veterans to help rebuild their rosters this summer. With an unprecedented amount of cap space heading into the offseason, the Blazers could work a lopsided deal in an effort to bring in another All-Star to play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge as the team rebuilds next season.