Out of everybody I know, my Dad is the biggest Portland Trail Blazers fan. So when I realized how fast the draft is coming up, I went directly to him for some insight on what the team will do.
(Note: this conversation took place before Rudy Fernandez announced he would join the team next year
Me: With the draft coming up, and the Blazers holding a late lottery selection, what move makes the most sense for the team at this juncture of their development.
Dad: I think in looking at the draft that there are a series of questions that they need to answer. First is Fernandez coming?
Me: I think Rudy is the key to this offseason. You have to build a gameplan according to what he is going to do.
Dad: Next is whether Webster is a shooting guard or a small forward.
Me: Beyond that, is he healthy enough to even play? I like Travis off the bench as instant offense a la Ginobli.
Dad: If it is Martell then who is going to back up at shooting guard?
Me: I don't think he is suited to start aside Roy and Aldridge, because they need the shots.
Dad: I like Travis off the bench as well.
Me: Webster fits that role better as a spot up shooter, or a secondary option?
Dad: Assuming Rudy comes over does he start?
Me: Well, the backup shooting guard is where Rudy comes into the equation. It is no secret that PG is the weakest position right now, what do you think is our best option available. You have to ask if Roy can handle being a true PG and if he can, do you want to use him that way
Dad: I think he Rudy comes off the bench with Roy handling the point offensively, but who takes the point defensively? With Roy at the point maybe he doesn't get as banged up as he did last year.
Me: That would be a huge bonus, he has had injury problems dating back all the way to his UW days
Dad: That is why I start with the 3 questions above. I don't know if Rudy starts or not, and that makes the difference on the PG front.
Me: I've heard a couple rumors, that would lead to an intriguing solution to the PG situation. Orlando does not want to draft in the first round. We could possibly package our two best 2nd rounders for their late first. Then, send our two firsts to Chicago for Hinrich. That is assuming Chicago takes Derrick Rose.
Dad: Hinrich is an option, but do you want his contract?
Me: Good point. His contract isn't nice, but Paul Allen isn't afraid to spend.
Dad: What player or players would we have to send to make the money work?
Dad: True. My inclination would be to be patient. The Blazers almost certainly will go to the playoffs next year no matter what else we do.
Me: Ok then, hypothetically, we stay put, the team then has a gluttony of players under contract, and multiple draft picks. Who gets jettisoned out of town?
Dad: I think it might be best to trade up to get someone in the draft that can develop. Realistically there are two roster spots in addition to the one occupied by Miles. Those would be Von Wafer and McRoberts.
Me: I agree, I do not see any way that Wafer returns. (By the way, hats off to Kevin Pritchard for finding a way to get rid of Miles).
Dad: The Blazers need to trade three and maybe three second round picks.
Me: I fully agree, I do not see anyway that these second rounders will make the roster.
Me: It should not hurt the team that much to use them to move up a couple spots and get a slightly better player.
Dad: I cannot come close to assessing the NBA potential of the 2nd tier point guards or combo guards, but I assume that KP can and will be able to pick someone who can make a difference for the team. Some of those folks have to be better than our current folks. By the way I think Steve Blake is a perfect back-up point guard
Me: Kevin has to value character over talent at this point in putting the team together. Blake is exactly the type of player I am referring too
Dad: He can come in and distribute, and can play extended minutes if need be.
Me: Whoever we add will not be a primary scoring option. We need people who are willing to run through a brick wall to win.
Dad: He is not, in my opinion, the long term starter. Jarret Jack is simply too inconsistent.
Me: Would you like to see Jack get moved? or just buried?
Dad: I realize that many are tired of Sergio, but I have a feeling that he can get better if he gets more of a chance.
Me: I think you can't overlook the comfort factor with his fellow Spaniard Fernandez coming.
Dad: I think someone in the league wants Jarrett Jack. Given the Blazers roster he is not as valuable to them as to someone else. I also wonder if McBob is around for a comfort factor for Oden?
Me: I think at this point he will be fine. There is not the language barrier, Oden can make friends more easily around town I imagine.
Dad: I think Rudy will come over, I think he will not start immediately, I think Martell will continue to start at the three and Travis will come off the bench. That says to me that the Blazers need to either move up the draft and get a point guard that will develop, or get a veteran who can help right away (Hinrich, Andre Miller, etc...).
Me: I agree, PG has to be addressed, Travis needs to come off the bench, and Rudy will need an adjustment period. Whatever happens, we know Pritchard will make draft day exciting