There was a lot of talk leading up to the draft that Portland would make a lot of moves - perhaps to move up to grab someone like Rubio or Blair or perhaps to nab a veteran like Hinrich. Near the draft Portland moved up from the 24th pick to the 22nd by giving up the 24th pick, a 2009 2nd pick and a 2010 2nd pick to Dallas. It wasn't clear to me why it was necessary to trade up two spots, but I thought it might be a prelude to a bigger deal or maybe they wanted to leapfrog Sacramento.
The draft came and went last night without too much excitement from Portland. They never traded up in the first round and selected Victor Claver from Spain with the 22nd pick. I don't know much about him, but I do know that he has talent. Is he a better pick over Blair who was available? Time will tell. Blair has a crazy wingspan, but is short for a PF and had both knees scoped in high school. That didn't stop San Antonio from picking up in the 2nd round though.
Portland did make another trade - they traded the 38th pick, Sergio Rodriguez and cash to Sacramento to move up to the 31st pick to grab Pendergraph. Pendergraph may be the banger Portland is looking for to backup Aldridge, but Blair was still on the board. Rodriguez had to go based on his attitude and to free up playing time to see if Bayless is the answer at point (my take: he's not). However, just moving up 7 2nd spots for him does not seem to be getting full value. Sure, Portland grabbed Pendergraph who might not have been there at 31, but Portland also had the 35th pick (used to grab Dante Cunningham). I don't think four spots in the 2nd round is a big deal, but perhaps Rodriguez had a little value on the open market.
Portland used its last 2nd pick, #55, on Patty Mills, an Australian point guard who will probably play in Europe next season. I think Claver will stay there as well to season while Pendergraph and Cunningham are both expected to make the team.
Overall, I guess I would say that I'm puzzled. It could be that these picks will be used in trades in July to grab some veterans, but if not, it's no big deal. Portland has a pretty good team and no pick in the draft would start for them. I just thought Blair would be a good fit and that they could get more for Rodriguez.
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