Who to choose?
First Pick (No. 6):
The shooting guard from the University of Florida is considered a top-three pick in the upcoming draft.
The Blazers would likely have to swing a draft-day deal to move up and select Beal, but stranger things have happened, and the team would love to add his deep-range and clutch shooting abilities to their roster next season.
Drumond is one of the best talents in the 2012 rookie class, but with concerns regarding his effort and low-post skills, he could very well fall into the laps of the Trail Blazers with the No. 6 pick.
The center position is one of the biggest holes in the current rotation, and while he’d be a project next season, the 6’11” big man could be worth the risk moving forward.
If the question marks surround Drummond don’t deter a team from selecting him in the top-five, Harrison Barnes could still be available for the taking with the Blazers’ first pick. Barnes is a 6’8” perimeter player whose scoring ability would add much needed depth to the wing positions next year.
The former Syracuse shooting guard has reportedly backed out of his remaining pre-draft workouts, as it’s believed that the Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers may have promised him a spot on their rosters come draft day.
The sixth pick might be a reach for Waiters, but if Toronto passes on him with No. 8, the 6’4” guard could be headed to Portland late in the lottery.
Lillard is a score-first, athletic point guard who can shoot the ball and score above the rim—what’s not to like, right?
Scoring point guards are hit or miss in the NBA, and with concerns regarding the level of competition he faced at Weber State, it’s difficult to tell if his incredible talent will translate immediately to the NBA level.
Second Pick (No. 11):
The Portland native has the talent to be an early-lottery selection in this year’s draft, but questions regarding his shot and love of the three-point line make him a slight concern heading into his rookie season.
It’s tough to imagine Jones is still available at 11, but if he’s passed on by the teams in the top ten, don’t be surprised if his talent takes precedent over the Blazers’ needs with their second pick.
Perry Jones III
The word tweeneris usually reserved for guards, but as a perimeter player trapped in a post player’s body, Perry Jones III just might struggle to find his role in the NBA next season. Despite the question marks, the talent is there, and with the acquisition of talent being a priority in Portland this summer, Jones could play both inside and outside until he finds his place on the court down the road.
The power forward slot isn’t a concern for the Blazers at this point, but if they feel they might not return J.J. Hickson to the roster this offseason, Jared Sullinger could be the perfect addition to the team’s frontcourt next year.
It’s debatable how high his ceiling is at this point, as his under-the-rim style and lack of athleticism have some concerned.
A great rebounder, though, and a player who knows how to score down low, he could be a solid pickup in Portland playing either behind or alongside LaMarcus Aldridge.
Tyler Zeller won’t likely be a star in the NBA, but his 7’0”, 250-pound frame and rebounding ability is exactly what Portland needs to get more physical inside next season.
As a prospect who can play both above the rim and beyond the free-throw line, Zeller could make a name for himself whether he adds depth off the bench or in the starting lineup.
The North Carolina point guard isn’t projected to go in the lottery by many experts, but with Portland’s dire need at the point guard position, he could be the answer to their problems with the No. 11 pick. Marshall is the definition of a true facilitator.
Having averaged 9.8 assists per game last season, his high basketball IQ and exceptional court vision would help get others involved as soon as he hit the floor in Rip City next season.
For more on the Blazers in the 2012 NBA draft check out my colleague Rick’s article Will the Trail Blazers make the right picks in the 2012 NBA draft?