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Draft watchers sound off on Blazer picks

Fan favorite Adam Morrison goes to Charlotte
by: David Plechl, Before the Blazers made their first pick, fans at the Hot Seat Bar and Grill in Tualatin were already chanting, "Draft the stache! Draft the stache!" - a reference to Gonzaga University forward Adam Morrison. Many were disappointed when the high-scoring player went to Charlotte instead.

TUALATIN - Stunned silence and confusion at the Hot Seat Bar and Grille greeted the Trail Blazers' trade up to get LaMarcus Aldridge in Wednesday's NBA draft.

What the (bleep) were they doing, asked the 'Draft the Stache' clan?

Then, a collective 'Oh!' filled the bar when Charlotte picked the moustached Adam Morrison with the third pick, meaning the Blazers wouldn't be getting their hands on the high-scoring Gonzaga forward.

'I'm sick to my stomach,' said Jared Atkinson of Beaverton. 'I was going to buy season tickets.'

'They moved up to No. 2 and were handed the perfect PR opportunity (getting Morrison),' said John Glissmeyer, 22 of Beaverton, 'and they picked a guy they could have got later in the draft, at No. 4.'

Later, the Blazers executed another head-scratching trade just to get the rights to Brandon Roy, mollifying the crowd.

'I think he's more NBA ready and complete than Morrison,' said Cameron Nash of Milwaukie.

Added Jason Stramberg of Corvallis: 'He doesn't sell seats for me, but he's a good player.'

Later, the Blazers acquired the rights to Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez, but the Blazers also picked an unknown forward from England, Joel Freeland, that drew more wrath from the ESPN draft crew.

'They have a roster that is in total disarray, dysfunctional,' commentator Greg Anthony said.

'It's a complete waste of my time to talk about the Portland Trail Blazers,' ESPN's Stephen A. Smith added. 'They're disoriented, it's like they don't know what they're doing. At the moment, it appears absolutely inept.'

Picking James White, at No. 31, finished the night for the Blazers - until, that is, they traded White to Indiana for the 45th pick, Alexander Johnson, a player they then traded to Memphis.

About 125 fans, mostly males, gathered at the Hot Seat. About 10 stood and applauded the move to get Aldridge.

'He's Rasheed Wallace without the attitude,' said Eric Botteron of Portland. 'He's got consistent range out to 20 feet. I saw him play a lot, actually - he was the (projected) No. 1 pick all year, until the last game, when he went 2 for 14 against LSU.'

With no Theo Ratliff (traded to Boston) and possibly no Joel Przybilla (free agency), the Blazers might have to play Aldridge right away.

'We'll be starting him at the 5 and playing a smaller lineup,' Botteron predicted.

The overwhelming majority wanted Morrison to be a Blazer.

'He's a Northwest guy,' said Ian Sanders of Tigard.

'He's a different personality, marketable,' said Adam Lindley of Beaverton.

Added Atkinson: 'I hadn't seen this much support for the Blazers in five years - and it was hype over one guy. I had never seen a player with that much heart.'

'I'm tired of hearing about stupid decisions by the Blazers,' said Daniel Ray of Portland. 'It's another, 'What if?,' for Portland.'

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