After drafting Damian Lillard last year and acquiring Eric Maynor at the trade deadline, the Portland Trail Blazers aren’t exactly hurting at point guard. However; Neil Olshey has stated that the Blazers will absolutely draft talent over position (as they should), so what happens if they deem former LeHigh point guard, C.J. McCollum most worthy of the 10th overall pick?
There is no reason to draft a player in the top 10, only to make them your third option at their position, but Maynor is certainly a capable backup and would even be a starter on some NBA teams. Neither should be coming off the bench that deep, especially when the Blazers are so desperate for depth at other positions.
The least likely scenario, though not necessarily a bad one, would involve keeping both players. In this instance, Maynor would demonstrate his skills as a combo-guard and back up Wesley Matthews at shooting guard as well. The problem here is that it pushes Will Barton out of rotation more than Portland would like, since he showed such high potential at the end of last season.
It is most likely that if the Blazers drafted McCollum, Maynor would not be re-signed. He is a restricted free agent this off-season, with a qualifying offer of $3.35 million. While letting Maynor go would be a mistake in my eyes, it would save Portland some extra dough to sign other free agents.
The 10th pick in the NBA draft will be guaranteed a salary of $1,865,300 in their first season. Therefore, drafting McCollum and letting Maynor walk gives the Blazers roughly an additional $1.5 million more to spend in other places (perhaps a center?).
A fringe scenario could also involve trading the draft rights to McCollum to a team that could use him more than we could in exchange for other pieces. Though I doubt the Blazers are brewing any such arrangement.
There has been a fair bit of talk about Portland taking McCollum if more attractive options are unavailable. He’s certainly not a bad player, but his addition to the roster would create displacement issues I am not convinced the Blazers are ready to address. Besides, I like the idea of a more experienced PG running the floor when Lillard is resting.
It boils down to potential vs. experience. Lillard and McCollum could be a powerful combo in a few short years, but Maynor is NBA ready right now (and relatively cheap). Draft night will determine Eric Maynor’s future just as much as C.J. McCollum’s. 8 more days until we know we have a better idea where Portland stands.