The Portland Trail Blazers completed one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory last month, and there is plenty of blame to go around.
That being said, the future may not be as bleak as some fans fear.
After all, they still have one of the league's best power forwards in LaMarcus Aldridge, a versatile and athletic small forward in Nic Batum and a very underrated shooting guard in Wesley Matthews.
Additionally, they have a ton of cash coming off of their books in the form of expiring contracts and two very good lottery picks.
For now, let's focus on the last of these assets, the draft picks.
We don't yet know what the draft order will be in this June's draft. That will be set on May 30 with the NBA Draft Lottery.
But assuming that the ping pong balls fall like most expect, the Blazers will probably be drafting right around the No. 6 and No. 11 spots.
While this all but eliminates franchise-changing prospects like Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, there still will be a number of talented players still on the board.
This is the first in my series breaking down some of the potential draft picks.
Andre Drummond: My Take
Drummond is an absolute beast. He is a genuine center with a huge frame and striking athleticism.
He runs the court fantastically well, has elite jumping ability and calls to mind a larger Amar'e Stoudemire with a dash of DeMarcus Cousins.
Offensively, he is somewhat limited but shows flashes of some real post potential.
He lacks elite range on his jump shot, but do you really want your seven-footer launching threes?
Defensively, he has the frame and athleticism to become an elite rebounder and shot-blocker.
So why is it possible that Drummond will be around past No. 5?
There are plenty of reasons, but the biggest is that Drummond was very inconsistent last year at Connecticut.
He has elite size and strength, but he didn't always show a desire to mix it up down low, preferring at times to avoid contact on the blocks.
He has the jumping ability to be a great rebounder and shot-blocker, but he doesn't have the instincts yet, often finding himself out of position in both those areas.
His offensive game shows promise, but he didn't show a desire to call for the ball consistently, and often times he shrunk from the competition.
Now, a lot of this can be explained away by the fact that his coach, the legendary John Calhoun, was injured most of the season and this undoubtedly restricted Drummond's growth.
This pick comes down to potential and whether or not the Blazers believe he can grow into a franchise center.
Scout's Take (From ESPN)
|Projection||Top 5 Pick|
How he fits in Portland
If he can develop his game, Drummond could be the perfect compliment to Aldridge.
He would take a ton of pressure off of the star forward on the defensive end, and given that he won't typically call for the ball on offense, he will instead clean the glass and make his baskets on put-backs.
Additionally, if the Blazers elect to become a more up-tempo offensive team, he would be a beast in transition. Imagine a seven foot, 280 pound center running the floor like a gazelle along with Aldridge and Batum.
The fear is that the Blazers do not yet have a clear direction for the future, let alone a head coach.
If they bring in a teacher, Drummond could succeed.
But if they go with more of a veteran-savvy coach, he might get lost in the cracks.
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