For the Portland Trail Blazers, there are only two potential selections at the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Should Connecticut center, Andre Drummond, fall past his projected draft range (between picks two and five), the Blazers will likely try to make him Greg Oden 2.0 and build around a front-court of he, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.
If Drummond indeed gets selected before Portland is on the clock, the consensus around the NBA is that the Blazers will go with Weber State product, Damian Lillard, to be Portland’s point guard of the future.
However, after the No.6 pick (which they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in the Gerald Wallace trade), the Blazers own eleventh pick is up in the air. Every lottery prospect from Ilinois’ Meyers Leonard to UConn’s Jeremy Lamb is projected to be in Portland’s draft range. but the hot talk for the Blazers is Syracuse’s Dion Waiters.
Rumor has it that one of three teams (the Blazers, Raptors, or Suns) made Waiters a promise to draft him, persuading him to shut down all of his pre-draft workouts since June 7th. GM Neil Olshey has vehemently refuted those claims, but doesn’t deny being high on him as a prospect.
Waiters, touted by ESPN’s Chad Ford as the second-best two-guard in the draft (behind Florida’s Bradley Beal), averaged 12.6 points and 1.8 steals per game in his sophomore year at Syracuse, and is undoubtedly a high-octane scorer and a value pick at No. 11.
While he would be an incredible talent pick-up, how he would fit in, or disrupt the rotation at this point is a cause for concern.
Though he did take a step back after his breakout sophomore season, Wesley Matthews is a lights-out shooter, and an above average defender. And though Elliot Williams played less than 10 minutes per game last season, all Blazers fans know his potential, as either a starter or sixth man, is through the roof. He’s poised for a highlight season very soon, maybe even 2012-13.
While Waiters could be the missing link for a deadly three-guard tandem, Portland still needs to address their gaping hole at PG. If the Blazers indeed select Drummond at No. 6, that hole could easily be filled by picking up Kendall Marshall.
Either way, the NBA Draft is lurking right around the corner, and in just a few more days, we’ll see exactly what Neil Olshey has concocted. We can’t rule out a trade, as he and Chad Buchanan have repeatedly announced that the Blazers’ lottery picks are available for trade.
But until draft day, we have no idea what’s to come.