If you head over to nba.com there should be one of those annoying video-only news links with insider info from David Aldridge. I really wish websites would also provide text so we don’t have to listen to someone talk for up to ten minutes, but I digress. His insider info, and Aldridge tends to be on to something good, unlike Peter Vescey, is that Portland might be in control of the draft because of their willingness to trade their pick for a veteran player.
Unfortunately, Aldridge does not provide any info on what veteran’s might be avaliable for the pick, but the idea does not taste too sour for me. If we don’t get one of the coveted top two picks (assuming both “those guys” declare) then I’m sure we could prey on one of the many poorly managed team’s in the league. As long as we don’t use the pick to trade for someone like the oft-injured Corey Maggette, as has been suggested so frequently over the last couple of years on Blazer message boards. Paul Pierce comes up in rumors every so often with the Blazers, but would Mr. Ainge be willing to deal with P-town again after being embarrased in last year’s draft? I highly doubt it. The only problem with Pierce is getting him to want to play here, since he would have to lead young guys again. Fortunately, he have a veteran rookie in Roy. It gets funny how in Boston they talk about all their young talent that truthfully, is not very good outside of Big Al and Ryan Gomes.
It’s also easy to forget that the Blazers have Darius Miles and his 48 million dollar contract sitting at home. Miles, the pick, and probably (and should be) Zach are the most expendable assests if Portland wants to deal, as long as they get good value in return – since someone is going to bite on Zach’s scoring average without realizing he is one of the most underrated team killers in recent memory, even just for his negative effects on the court, including but not only a severe lack of defense, playmaking ability (for others), and stagnation of the offense. Personally, I would still like to see Luol Deng on this team, and I have a feeling he could be gotten without the draft pick. If the Blazers had moved for Deng as the deadline they’d be sitting even prettier than they are right now. Let’s just hope the Bulls get murdered inside and their 3’s don’t fall in the playoffs. Then they’ll be drooling over Zach.
The flipside to dealing a pick in such a good draft is you might miss out on a legitimate star. I don’t see this draft, outside of the top two, being similar to 2003, however, which gave us four thoroughbred all-stars in Lebron, Wade, Melo and Bosh. My philosophy with the draft is to look at the guys who have the ‘dominance’ factor, which is the most important thing a player can have. To prove this, one only has to look back on all the players who have similar athletic talents and even fundamental abilities to today’s all-stars, yet have failed to make an impact. Noah is not going to be dominant, I’ll tell you that much. If a guy with ‘dominance’ factor is avaliable with the pick, you must strongly consider taking him, otherwise, the Blazers might as well try and convince another team that the players avaliable have ‘dominance’ factors, and reap the benefits of those team’s stupidity.