Today was the NBA draft and my home-state Portland Trailblazers was THE mover and shaker of the day. Big moves by the Blazers have really changed the look of the team and could mark the turnaround the team sorely needs.
Starting things off before the draft Portland traded Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, a 2008 2nd round pick and cash to the Boston Celtics for the #7 pick, Raef Lafrentz and Dan Dickau. Telfair, drafted in 2004 out of high school, was supposed to be the PG of the future for the Blazers. But, the team drafted another PG in Jarrett Jack the next year in the first round. Telfair was former-GM John Nash’s pick and it looks like nobody agreed with him, and now that he is gone so is Bassy. Portland did take on a big contract in Lafrentz—who has 3 years remaining on his current contract—while Ratliff only had two years remaining.
Then, Portland traded the #4 pick, Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa to Chicago for the #2 pick, LaMarcus Aldridge and future 2nd round pick. Aldridge gives Portland a big man who can eventually replace the losses of Ratliff and Pryzbilla if he leaves in free agency. He won’t be an immediate help because he is still a little raw. It looks like Portland believes the Pryzbilla is gone so they got LaFrentz and Aldridge.
Some of the ESPN commentators think Portland could have sat on the fourth pick and still got Aldridge. Stephen A. Smith thinks that Portland HAS NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!! He doesn’t say really say why though. Let me just say this right now, I think Stephen A. Smith is a Grade A imbecile who can only make his points by yelling and most of his points are usually way off the mark.
With the 7th pick Boston selected Randy Foye for Portland after Minnesota selected Brandon Roy. However, Portland and Minnesota swapped picks and I think Portland got the one guy they really coveted in Roy. In my book, Roy was the best guy in the draft. He is the most polished of all the players selected before him; he is athletic; he can play defense; and, he can play three positions if necessary. He is a great combo guard. Plus, he is a Northwest product and should help sell some tickets. One downside is that he and Martell Webster, last year’s #1 for Portland, play the same primary position and Roy may take time from Webster, who needs to develop.
Before the Roy trade, ESPN was saying that Portland was making a huge error because they didn’t get Roy—the player they coveted. Stephen A. was killing Portland again, saying that he was sorry that Foye was going to Portland. Well, now they have the player they coveted and Stephen A. doesn’t have anything to say.
Sergio Rodriquez, a Spanish PG, was drafted by Phoenix in the 27 slot, but it is reported that Portland is straight out buying the pick. Not sure about this one. Just another small guard. Maybe he can back up Jack, but I would rather see some size. Greg Anthony is puzzled by all of the Portland trades, saying they could have gotten all of the same personnel without the trades. I call bullshit on that one. No way they get Roy if they don’t trade Telfair. Maybe they could have gotten Aldridge but they were probably concerned about somebody moving up to get him.
Joel Freeland is Portland’s 30th pick. He is a 19 year-old 6-10 PF out of England. Who? Nothing good coming from the commentators except that he will probably stay in England for a year or two. With the 31st pick, the first of the 2nd round, Portland selected James White from Cincinnati. He’s an athletic 6’7” guard.
Overall, I would have to disagree with the ESPN announcers. All they could say is that Portland didn’t know what it was doing, except they never supported the opinions with any facts. The one thing I agree with was that Portland may have gotten Aldridge without trading up. No way they get Roy without trading Telfair. Portland was able to parlay the former #13 pick Telfair into a #6 pick in Roy—a good move if you ask me. In all, the Blazers ended up with 4 first round picks and got two studs in Aldridge and Roy. They also have 3 players to bring in and see how they perform. The team is very young now and Steve Patterson said the Blazers aren’t done trading. So be on the watch for more action.
Update 6/29/06 8:15 a.m.: After tiring of the draft and changing the channel, the Blazers traded 2nd round pick James White to Indiana for two future 2nd round picks and the 45th selection who they then traded to Memphis for another future 2nd round pick. So, the Blazers gave up two future 2nd round picks and picked up three more. Not bad in my estimation.
A few notes on the broadcast:
Thank God ESPN let us know that Shelden Williams color coordinates his closet; and, B-Roy drove a forklift for a job after high school.
Vitale slurping Redick again, asking for free tickets for all the publicity he gave Redick over the past 4 years.
Apparently, Stephen A. hates every move, every draft pick, and every organization that is in the lottery because he is ripping just about every selection.
Awesome interview with a Knicks fan during the NY pick at 29. One guy called Isiah Thomas a bum and said he needed to be fired and that NY needed a guy knew how to manage. Frickin’ awesome.
Best name of the draft: Olexsiy Pecherov, 18th pick of the Washington Wizards.