Chad Ford, the guru at ESPN on all things NBA draft, answered some questions about NCAA talent this season, with one of those questions coming from a Blazer fan:
Kory (Rip City): I noticed that on your mockdraft lottery that you have portland taking Budinger. Do you think my blazers will draft a small forward, a point guard or package the pick and players in a trade.
SportsNation Chad Ford: I think they're priority is point guard, then small forward. However, they might not be able to get an elite point guard at No. 13. If Augustin or Westbrook are on the board, they'd probably take them. If not, I think they'll switch gears to small forward. Budinger's a good fit because of his shooting ability, athleticism and the fact that he doesn't need to be the man on every possession.
I think Ford is right on the first point, and way off on the second.
First off, Kevin Pritchard is taking the best player available, period. Point guard, small forward, center, it doesn't matter. The best guy on the board when KP makes his pick will be a Trail Blazer. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if they were focusing on point guards, if for no other reason than this draft is stocked with quality guards.
But Chase Budinger? He's been hyped since he came to Arizona, but I don't really understand why. He's athletic, but not crazy athletic. He knows his way around the court, but again, his hoops IQ isn't off the charts. He's got a decent stroke, but nothing spectacular. I can't figure out for the life of me why he's even coming out this season (if in fact he is). Is he ever going to play over Travis Outlaw (more athletic than Budinger), Martell Webster (more athletic and a better shooter than CB) or James Jones (also a better shooter than Budinger)? I just can't see it.