Apr 14, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns players look on against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half at US Airways Center. The Grizzlies won 97-91. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Could Be Portland’s Door to the 2014 NBA Draft


If the Portland Trail Blazers truly want to take part in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft, there may be a way for them to get their foot in the door. The Phoenix Suns are rumored to be shopping the 27th pick in exchange for a future first-rounder. While trading a future first for a player four spots removed from the second round (and the coveted non-guaranteed nature of their contract) appears disadvantageous at first glance, remember that the depth of this draft increases just about everyone’s value. The Trail Blazers are closing in on the point where their future first round picks could be rather late anyway, due to record.

The Suns are motivated sellers, since they have a deluge of young talent and guaranteed contracts to accompany their three first round picks (14, 18, 27). In theory, they are looking to delay their rookie acquisitions in order to save on space for the opportune moment—hence the desire for a pick in next year’s NBA draft or later. If Portland jumps on this opportunity, they will have the chance to draft a quality player for the low, low price of $930K (per the rookie scale) and save up for a quality free agent.

However; this gambit would not be without its risks. It is always, and I must stress always risky to trade a future first round draft pick. There are no guarantees that its anticipated value will remain unchanged between now and draft time, nor that a present day pick will pan out as hoped. I would only advise the Trail Blazers to take this route if there is someone they are particularly enamored with this year. Throwing some protections on the future pick would not hurt either, if the Suns were willing to accept the terms.

 

Apr 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Shabazz Napier waves to the crowd after cutting down a piece of the net following the championship game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament against the Kentucky Wildcats at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

 

Personally, I wouldn’t entirely mind making a run at Shabazz Napier out of UConn. The four-year college point guard averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists for the Huskies this season, under head coach Kevin Ollie. Those are ridiculous numbers for college ball. He has experience, training, scoring ability, and –perhaps most importantly – is anticipated to go between 25-30 in this year’s draft. If Mo Williams does indeed leave in free agency, replacing his scoring punch for under $1M frees up a fair chunk of change for other purposes (though it may mean a few more question marks for C.J. McCollum).

Trading with Phoenix is probably Portland’s best chance to have a piece of the first round without losing a starter. Since they seem content to keep their core intact, this would be a reasonable way to circumvent rookie stagnation if they elected to do so. The 2014 NBA Draft is on June 26th, just under three weeks away. The Trail Blazers front office has some thinking to do between now and then, as any potential trade will shape their offseason and maybe even their season to come.

 

 

Tags: Nba Draft Portland Trail Blazers Shabazz Napier Trade

  • ripcity_aloha

    Uncle Paul sure does love fresh meat. As do we all. I don’t know how much more rookie limbo I can do, esp if we are in “win now” mode. I’m not sold on Napier’s game translating into the NBA. I still will enjoy watching him play where ever he ends up. There are definitely some wings in that range PJ, Elfrid, Jordan Adams, Bogdan, GRIII, Cleanthony, but we already have plenty of rookie wings.

    I might flip a pick if Nurkic or Payne fall. I don’t mind Mitch McGary, but his back and off court antics worry me a little. Jarnell Stokes also seems like he can contribute right away.

  • Draftdog

    Very interesting as this draft not only has some jewels at the top, it is also a very deep draft. Unfortunately, no matter how you look at it drafting at 27 is a crap shoot. There haven’t been many highly productive players taken in that range, but there have been many good rotations players. In the ’06 draft Phoenix drafted Sergio Rodriguez for the Blazers and we all know how that turned out. Sergio was highly regarded but his game just never translated to the NBA. Then again Glen Davis was taken 35th in the ’07 draft and the ’08 draft produced Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum at the 24th and 25th picks respectively.

    Neil Olshey has publicly stated the Blazers are done acquiring assets, so it would be safe to assume, if he gets in this draft, there is a player or players who he feels that will be able to contribute by playoff time next year. Given Stotts’ player development track record, good luck with that scenario. No, more likely the imaginative Olshey will use the assets he has to bring in a veteran via trade or free agency to help the bench. However, as ‘ripcity_aloha’ alluded to, Allen does like the draft. The off season has always been a time of anticipation for fans.