Though the Blazers finished with a 33-49 record last season, there were some positive aspects to the year. The talent of rookie point guard Damian Lillard and big man Lamarcus Aldridge was obvious, and if the Blazers can add some more young stars to their roster in the draft, things will definitely be looking up next year.
So, let’s take a look at the players that Portland is allegedly interested in.
Alex Len, C, Maryland
First, there’s Alex Len, the big sophomore center from Maryland. Several experts and sites, including Sean Meagher of Oregon Live, are chattering about Portland’s supposed interest in Len. The Blazers have reportedly met with Len and expressed their interest.
The center averaged 7.8 rebounds last season with Maryland and stands over seven feet tall. Though he’s had foot surgery and is only a 20-year-old sophomore, Len is obviously talented and will be a hot prospect in the draft.
However, he is in fact rumored to be desired by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the first pick in the draft. Despite Portland’s interest in the center, it is rather unlikely that he would not be picked up before the 10th pick. The Maryland star will probably be gone before it’s Portland’s turn to make their choice.
Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana
Chris Haynes of CSSNNW.com also cites Indiana’s Victor Oladipo as a prospect of the Trail Blazers, if they can move up in the draft. Unlike Len, Oladipo is a guard. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 28.4 minutes per game last season with Indiana. The guard is slightly more experienced than Len, having just completed his junior year.
Though the Blazers could use some help at the guard position, a lot of people are projecting that Oladipo will be snatched up before the 10th pick arrives. Portland will really likely have to move up if it wants to grab Oladipo in the draft.
C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
Finally, there is C.J. McCollum, who the Trail Blazers have apparently met with. McCollum just finished his senior year at Lehigh, where he played the guard position. For 2012-13, McCollum averaged an impressive 23.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per 31.0 minutes of game play.
He also has a solid three-point shot, with a three-point percentage of .516 for the year. Obviously, McCollum would be another solid choice to work with Damian Lillard.
I think it would be wise for the Trail Blazers to target a guard in the draft. Though Len is obviously an intriguing prospect, he will probably be picked very early on and it doesn’t seem likely that Portland will have a chance to grab him.
Currently, the Blazers only have three guards guaranteed to return next season. Will Barton and Wesley Matthews are shooting guards, and star second-year man Damian Lillard is their only point guard who is locked in for another season.
When the draft finally arrives, the Trail Blazers will be wise to target a fresh young guard to add to their squad. Last year, they hit the jackpot when they picked up Lillard. Let’s see what happens this time around.