Fixing the 4, pt. 2: The Draft

In Part I of my look at how Portland can fulfill their need for a backup 4, I took at look at potential free agents. While many on that list would fit in great with the Blazers, it’s hard to imagine Portland being able to lure many of them out here. Whether it be money or playing time, the main guys just seem like they won’t get out here. So another option for Portland to look at: the NBA Draft. I took a list at various draft boards across the net and put together a list of eligible big men who could possible work out in Portland. Here it is:

  • Blake Griffin. Wait.
  • Thabeet. Crap.
  • Jordan Hill. Damnit.

There is a better chance of me marrying Maria Sharapova and divorcing her for Carrie Underwood and then cheating on her with Megan Fox than Portland has of getting Blake Griffin. Ditto for Thabeet and Hill but you can use a slightly less exaggerated example. I really wish we could get Jordan Hill though, he would fit right in with what Portland needs at the backup 4. Very hard worker, rebounds, can pass, can score….I wish we could get him.

  • DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh): Now this is the guy that Blazer fans want and I can’t really blame them one bit. Blair is just a monster of a man. No other way to say it, he’s just an absolute beast. And the word beast describes exactly what Portland needs at the power forward spot. Just a physical and beasty rebounder and Blair is definitely all of that. I don’t want to listen to the “undersized” thing because the Milsap’s, Landry’s and Maxiell (well Maxiell pre this year) of the world have proven otherwise. Blair’s stock seems to be on the rise so the chances of him falling to #24 are looking slimmer than the chances of the WNBA….nah not going to pick on them today. Just know the chances are small. Sidenote, I do have one major problem with Blair. Here it is. Every single time I look at hime I see Tractor Traylor and it scares the living hell out of me. I don’t want any part of Tractor Traylor part 2. None. At. All.
  • BJ Mullens (Ohio State): I put him on the list because of how highly he’s been rated on various draft boards. He’s a center, he’s 7-1 and athletic…but he’s young and going to be a project. If Portland is going to draft a big man they need one who can have an impact now not in a few years from now. And if they are going to go with a project, I assume they’ll take a Euro that they can stash for a few years. Mullens also more than likely won’t be available at #24, so wave bye bye if you wanted another Ohio State big man.
  • Tyler Hansbrough (UNC): And it’s time to open up a can of worms here ladies and gentlemen. Every mock draft in the universe (except for this one) has Tyler Hansbrough going to the Jazz. Because, um, can I say this…well….I’m going to anyways, because he’s a hard working white guy which turns him into the prototypical forward for Utah (Ooooh no he didn’t, yes he did). Anyways, you might wanna kill me for this but I like Tyler Hansbrough’s game. Say what you want about him not being a pro, but he’s got the tools to contribute in the L. Why does no one want Hansbrough in Portland? He’s a bulldog in the paint, he brings energy, he’ll battle and always works his tail off. I’m not seeing what’s not to like here. I smell your undersized and under-athletic comment, but he’ll be playing a limited role. And the one thing I know he can do is be a role player. You’re telling me you wouldn’t take 10-12 minutes of Hansbrough a game? He can’t give a little bit of what Chuck Hayes or Luis Scola? Come on. I would have rather had him out there than Frye, Shavlik or Love Muffin Ruffin during the Rockets series. At the very least he has to intrigue you. Also could you imagine Hansbrough’s crazy eyes out there with Blake and Big Joel? Whose messing with those guys? Exactly.
  • Jeff Pendergraph (Arizona State): You could say this is a ‘reach’ and I’d agree to an extent. No need to even think about taking him at #24 when you can get him in the second round. But I think this guy is a sleeper. You don’t shoot 66% from the field if you’re an absolute bum. Even if the majority of your shots were dunks or within 15 feet but still. Impressive. At first glance you might look and see flashes of Channing Frye and run far, far away. But Pendergraph likes to operate in the low post, can run the floor really well and plays with great energy and passion. I wouldn’t mind stealing him at the right time.
  • Jon Brockman (Washington): You can tell me all the reasons why Brockman won’t be able to succeed in the NBA and I’d more than likely put my hand on my chin and nod at every point you make. The one thing you can’t tell me about Jon Brockman? That he’s not a tank….because he absolutely, positively is. His toughness, hustle, physical play and ability to rebound gets him put on this list. Also helping him is he fact that undersized power forwards are all the rage right now. That being said, he’s got some pretty nice-sized limitations. How’s he going to finish? I’m not sure he is going to be able to beast his way to the bucket like he did in college. And that whole size and athleticism thing too. No way you take Brockman at #24. Late second round steal status? Absolutely. I don’t know about you all but I love Brockman’s game.
  • Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech): I’ve heard his name get tossed around in a few mock drafts for Portland. I don’t know a lot about him at all. Read Casey Holdahl’s thoughts. I hate to talk about him because I don’t know that much, but from everything I have read, I’m just not feeling it. He’s long and athletic, works hard, rebounds..but he’s raw and would be getting drafted based on potential, upside and all the other words that end up in an NBA Draft drinking game. He’s not someone who can contribute to this team right now in a significant way so what’s the point? Read his DraftExpress profile and see how excited you get.

And that’s literally about it. Any of the players in this draft who could help the Blazers at the backup 4 will be gone by #24. Jordan Hill and Blair are #1 and #2 but they are lottery. Hansbrough to me smells like a nice pick but he’s about as popular as Oscar the Grouch. Seriously no one likes him and I fully expect for someone to call me a dumb-dumb for even suggesting it. Then you either have projects with upside who won’t be able to contribute immediately or intriguing prospects (Pendergraph, Brockman) who are guys you can snag in the second round. A couple names floated in my head (Heytvelt from Gonzaga or Taj Gibson from USC) but they smell more like Channing Frye than what we really need. Looking at the draft, it’s going to be tough or it to be the answer to Portland’s power-forward issues just because of how thin it is.  So I ask the question…would you trade up to get a Jordan Hill or DeJuan Blair? And really that question asks an even bigger question, which Ben from Blazer’s Edge brought up…if you trade up do you draft a PG?

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Tags: 2009 Nba Draft 2009 Nba Draft Power Forwards Bj Mullens Blake Griffin Dejuan Blair Gani Lawal Jeff Pendergraph Jon Brockman Jordan Hill Josh Heytvelt Nba Draft Nba Draft Power Fowards Portland Trail Blazers Portland Trail Blazers Need Portland Trail Blazers Power Forward Taj Gibson Tyler Hansbrough Tyler Hansbrough Draft Tyler Hansbrough Nba Tyler Hansbrough Portland

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