On the day of the draft, Portland traded that pick to Utah for the following package: The No. 6 pick (Martell Webster); the No. 27 pick (Linus Kleiza, eventually traded to Denver); and a 2006 No. 1 (which turned out to be the No. 30 pick, Joel Freeland). I'm going out on a limb and saying Portland would love a do-over on this one.
Just for the hell of it, let's say the Blazers took Paul. They're still a lottery team the following season, although probably not as bad, so maybe they end up with Rudy Gay at No. 8 instead of Aldridge at No. 4. They're definitely better in '07, maybe a fringe playoff team, so let's take Oden away from them and give them the No. 12 pick (Thaddeus Young) that year. Which foundation would you rather have if you're a Portland fan?
Scenario A: Oden, Aldridge, Webster, Roy, Travis Outlaw, Jarrett Jack, Joel Przybilla, the rights to Rudy Fernandez.
Scenario B: Paul, Roy, Gay, Outlaw, Przybilla, Jack, Young, the rights to Rudy Fernandez.
Hmmmmmm. Paul and Roy as your backcourt for the next 12 years? Would that have even worked when both guys need the ball in their hands? (Possibly.) Would they have had enough size? (From the looks of it, no.) Would they have played more like a Golden State-type style, and would it have worked? (With the talent on hand, I say yes.) Anyway, if Portland takes Paul, that sets off a crazy chain reaction: New Orleans ends up with Deron Williams instead of Paul; Utah never gets its franchise point guard; Oden and Aldridge land in other cities; maybe Roy doesn't turn into a franchise guard playing second fiddle to Paul; and maybe Paul isn't quite as driven because he's not as ticked off for the next few years after three teams passed on him. I have to say, I like the way it worked out.
I'm a little surprised by Simmons' siding with history. Maybe he's still stinging from all the hate mail he received after arguing the Blazers should trade LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez for Mike's Conley and Miller. Maybe Simmons didn't want to provoke your ire once again.
I'm still not positive which one of those scenarios I would prefer. I lean towards what we have now, but Chris Paul, Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay as your starting 1-2-3? That's a real good team. Two All-Star and one probable All-Star in your starting five.
But on the flip side, I'd be surprised if Aldridge and Oden don't end up as Top-5 players at their respective positions within the next five years. So it boils down to relying on talented bigs or talented guards and wings. I think you typically defer to size in these instances, but the league is changing a bit.
It's all moot of course, unless one of you Chris Paul-loving super-geniuses somehow manage to master time travel.