Players the Trail Blazers should target with #10 pick

Lottery Results Are In

No surprises on Tuesday. As expected, the Portland Trail Blazers landed the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

A top-3 pick would have been a miracle for Portland. Not getting a top-3 pick isn’t the end of the world for the Blazers, though. Looking at the recent history of picks at number 10 can give fans hope.

Here is a look at who has been drafted with the 10th pick since the year 2005:

  • 2005 – Andrew Bynum
  • 2006 – Saer Sene
  • 2007 – Spencer Hawes
  • 2008 – Brook Lopez
  • 2009 – Brandon Jennings
  • 2010 – Paul George
  • 2011 – Jimmer Fredette
  • 2012 – Austin Rivers

I would label the last two draft picks as ‘yet to be determined’ – they both have potential to become good scorers in this league as long as they get the right opportunity.

Of the other draft picks, there has been five stars (Joe Johnson, Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez, Brandon Jennings, and Paul George), 3 role players (Caron Butler, Spencer Hawes, and at times Keyon Dooling), and then there have been a few busts (Jarvis Hayes, Luke Jackson, and Saer Sene).

There is a mixed bunch drafted at number 10, but judging by history, the odds of drafting at least a role player is pretty high. All the Blazers need is a role player. They need someone to come off the bench and score some points. We all know how bad their bench was last year, there’s no use in going over the stats again.

So, who in this draft can become a role player with Portland? This is a question Portland will have to ask their selves as they go through the draft process. I will give you five guys that I like so far. Keep in mind that draft orders change once players start getting their individual workouts and interviews.

The 5 I Like

Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad should both scare and excite fans in Portland.

Shabazz Muhammad should both scare and excite fans in Portland.

There have been concerns about his character issues and not living up to potential. For these reasons, he has dropped in many mock drafts. I still like him.

Getting Shabazz Muhammad at number 10 can do wonders for the Blazers. For me, his draft combine interview cleared up character issues – supposedly he had an age issue. In the interview Shabazz said, “I’m 20”. There is no hiding his age. For some reason at UCLA there was that problem. Now, he says that he will be talking for himself instead of letting others talk for him. Hopefully, this will prevent any further miscommunication between the media and himself.

He is a talented player. He can score from a number of areas on the court. He has an NBA body with his strength and athleticism. He can play either the small forward or shooting guard, which he could serve as a great sixth man for Portland under either position. He can definitely bring a spark to the Blazers bench for next season. If he is there, he is my first choice.

Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller is by far my favorite Zeller. He runs the court better than any big man I’ve seen. For Portland, he can serve as a great back-up to LaMarcus AldridgeHe can also play alongside LaMarcus with their ability to play the 5 spot if needed, but both are probably best used at power forward.

With Damian Lillard, this has become a faster team. That fits Zeller’s abilities and can make for an easy transition for him.

Zeller makes sense for the Blazers with his ability to play the 4 or 5. They need help at every position off the bench and he would be a great addition. Zeller can come in provide solid contributions off the bench.

If Portland went with Zeller, it would not be a replacement for Meyers Leonard. Portland should be looking elsewhere for a center this off-season, as to say via free-agency or trade. Leonard’s potential is worth his continued development. I think the Blazers should continue to stick with that while finding a center that they can fill in for now, someone like Samuel Dalembert or Jermaine O’Neal.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavius Caldwell-Pope is as good as his name sounds (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Kentavius Caldwell-Pope is as good as his name sounds (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a good shooter and a great defender. He’s the third best option for Portland with the 10th pick. He can fill a much needed role coming off the bench. He can score and come in and lock up other guards. He is a type of player that thrives off playing defense, which is an immediate upgrade over anyone on the current roster.

He must impress Portland in workouts and interviews for them to reach for him. 10 is a bit of a stretch for him. Sometimes all it takes is the right guy in the right system to become a good player in this league. I feel that Caldwell-Pope can be a Paul George type. I think Portland can give him that same opportunity that George had with Indana.

Michael Carter-Williams

He is a point guard and we do still have Lillard. That doesn’t matter, I still like him.

Michael Carter-Williams reminds me of Kendall Marshall with his court vision – Marshall ended up going 13th last year to Phoenix.

He does bring a little more to the table than Marshall. He has great length for his position. This allows him to defend multiple positions. He also says that he is comfortable playing off the ball, although he didn’t do too much of that at Syracuse.

Portland liked playing Lillard off the ball last year and would hope to do that with Carter-Williams. If Carter-Williams can prove to play off the ball as well then Portland will take a hard look at him.

Portland would like to have two guys that can either play off ball or with the ball in their hands – it can make for a nice combination.

Kelly Olynyk

I’m too much of a fan, but his hair and band reminds me of Bill Walton and I can see Portland fans eating that up. He plays with energy and emotion. Playing behind a crowd that can quickly get behind him may boost his talents.

Kelly Olynyk is another one of those guys that can become a good player under the right the circumstance. He is sort of a local favorite and I think he fits in Portland. There are teams that he could go to and quickly vanish.. kind of like Adam Morrison did. Morrison didn’t have star potential, but he could have become a good role player for the right team.

However, Morrison was drafted high and had to live up to those high expectations with no players around him. It wasn’t the right situation.

Olynyk, if he joins the Blazers, could fit in nicely and quickly become a role player.


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  • 42N8Bounce

    I’m a bit concerned about Shabazz’s team attitude. Only 0.8 assists per game. Blackhole. I like Zeller and Caldwell-Pope for the 10th pick. Zeller adds that big with versatility that the Blazers certainly need. He also tested very well at the combines (He has the highest no-step vertical in the draft at 35.5″). Caldwell-Pope has that nice balance of scoring (18.5 ppg) and defensive effort (7.2 rpg, 2.0 spg) that the Blazers could really use on the wing.

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