Blazers begin to order draft wish list
The Trail Blazer brass hasn't made up its mind which way to go in the June 28 NBA draft. But it's getting closer.
The Blazers have considered 10 players for the No. 4 pick in the draft, and eight of them - all but Italian power forward Andrea Bargnani and Villanova guard Randy Foye - will have visited the team's training facility for personal workouts by Wednesday.
Don't be persuaded by the grass-roots 'Draft the 'Stache' campaign that illustrated how Gonzaga's Adam Morrison is the people's choice in Portland; the Blazers won't be. The Blazers will take the player they believe can best help the team, not the guy who would be most popular initially with fans. Morrison wouldn't sell many tickets; a winning team will.
The Blazers have a board on which they rank the draft's talent, and the order changes from week to week and even from day to day. The likelihood is that they will choose between these seven, in no particular order: Bargnani, Morrison, Foye, 6-9 Louisiana State forward Tyrus Thomas, 6-11 Texas forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-8 Connecticut forward Rudy Gay and 6-5 Washington guard Brandon Roy.
The least of Portland's needs would seem to be at shooting guard, with 19-year-old Martell Webster and veteran Juan Dixon already on board. With the potential trade of Darius Miles and loss to free agency of Joel Przybilla looming, small forward and center might be the biggest needs.
'I don't think position makes that much of a difference,' Patterson tells me. 'A number of the guys we're looking at play multiple positions. A number of the guys we have on our roster can play multiple positions.'
Not really. Gay, Bargnani and Morrison are small forwards; Roy is a shooting guard; Aldridge and Thomas are post players. Roy might be able to play a little point guard, but he is more suited at the 2, and I think that lessens the chances Portland will take him. Coach Nate McMillan has had enough of using players out of position. Next season, Zach Randolph will be a power forward, Webster a shooting guard and Sebastian Telfair, Jarrett Jack and Steve Blake - assuming they are still here - will play the point, except in a pinch.
Bargnani probably will be gone by the time the Blazers draft, unless they move up. Aldridge, in particular, interests the Blazers' scouting staff, so he could be the guy.
Keep in mind, though, that the Blazers might be looking to deal. And a lot can happen in the next eight days.
• I don't know what to make of Paul Allen's appearance at last Thursday's workout. He remains the owner until a sale of the club is made, which isn't going to happen before the draft. Why wouldn't he show? I don't think it's an indication he isn't going to sell the club.
• It was pretty cool the way Morrison interacted with his fans after the Thursday session. Around 30 'Draft the 'Stache' advocates, their flame fanned by the folks at 1080 AM the Fan, had been there for more than two hours, chanting and imploring the Blazers to draft the Gonzaga standout.
As he was leaving the facility, he heard the noise, strode across the street with a grin and mingled comfortably with his unofficial fan club. He signed autographs, exchanged banter ('can't hurt endorsement opportunities,' he said about his mustache - perhaps a hint to Gillette) and showed that a folk hero can act like a regular guy.
• I had the list of schools Kyle Singler is considering wrong in last week's Portland Tribune. The South Medford High hoop phenom lists Duke, Arizona, UCLA, Kansas - not North Carolina - and Washington as his fab five.
The 6-9 Singler has made unofficial visits to Duke and UCLA and hopes to get to Seattle this summer to check out the UW campus. In the fall, he definitely will make official visits to Duke, UCLA, Kansas and Arizona. He still is making a decision on whether he wants to play quarterback for the Panthers next season or bypass football to focus on basketball.
• Lyle Moevao, the quarterback from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., who has committed to Oregon State, will arrive in Corvallis this week.
The 6-foot, 220-pound Moevao, who chose OSU over Nebraska, will redshirt this fall and have three seasons of eligibility remaining. OSU coaches expect him to compete with redshirt freshman Sean Canfield for the starting job in 2007.