Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Draft Express approves of a Roy/Westbrook backcourt

Draft Express is easily my go-to source for draft news. Jonathan Givony (the sites proprietor) and his crew bring a real sense of professionalism and objectivity that's often times hard to find on the web. And their coverage of basketball beyond the borders of the United States is top-notch.

So whenever I read something from Draft Express that mentions the Blazers, I tend to take notice a little more, so it's no surprise that this little tidbit from an NBA.com interview with Givony caught my attention.
NBA.com: Best defender [in this year's draft]?

Givony: I would say Russell Westbrook. He's long, has huge hands, is tenacious, super athletic, and played under Ben Howland. NBA teams I've talked to think he can defend both guard positions effectively which will help him especially if he gets drafted by a team like Portland where he wouldn't have to play point guard next to Brandon Roy.

You could easily argue that whoever plays in the guard position opposite Roy will have to play point, at least some of the time, but I think you get the idea. Having Roy gives Nate McMillan options, but wouldn't you still like to draft a guy who's primary role is running the point?

Then again, would you trade traditional point guard skills for a player who could lockdown defend point and shooting guards? Is it easier to teach a player to be a point guard or a top-tier defender? There are so few of either in the NBA that it's a hard question, at least for me, to answer.


Ferg said...

Westbrook would be a great pick for us! I only hope he falls as far as 13, or maybe we trade up for him. I think he would be a keeper, who could challenge Blake for the starting PG spot. He is quick, athletic, can score and I believe can mature into a great playmaker. Not to mention his defense is off the charts! Just what we need in the backcourt, a lockdown defender. Plus having Brandon play some time at point will give him a chance to learn and grow without tons of pressure every game. Lets get Westbrook!!!

Philski said...

One of the (minor) issues with the Blazers backcourt is that when your star (Brandon) is a combo-guard, then you essentially need to pair him with another combo-guard. Brandon needs the ball in his hands at times in order to be most effective. Luckily for the Blazers, Steve Blake had a great year playing off of Brandon and he was able to consistently knock down deep outside shots. That's what someone playing next to Brandon is going to need to do, and that's why I think that Brandon and Rudy could play effectively together.

Westbrook's lack of a consistent outside shot at this point in his career might make him somewhat of a liability at the offensive end, if he's playing with Brandon. However, Westbrook's ability to be a lock-down defender is still very appealing.

One of the reasons that I am wondering about how high the Blazers could move up in the draft is that OJ Mayo and Jarryd Bayless are also combo-guards, but both are much better outside shooters than Westbrook. Mayo is also an excellent defender, who was able to shut down both Derrick Rose and Jarryd Bayless during the times they played against each other this past year.

Look for the Blazers to move up on draft day. I think that picks #13, 33 and 36, along with Jarrett Jack, could get the Blazers into the top five, and that should be enough to get either Bayless or Mayo.


Aaron said...

I'll bet my child's college fund (easy to do, as I don't have a child) that the Blazers will not draft OJ Mayo, whether they trade up or he falls.

I ultimately have a hard time imagining the Blazers with another young guard on the roster. That's a problem they're trying to remedy, which would seem to make even Westbrook a bit more of a longshot. I wonder if they won't be shipping out, say, Sergio, Jarrett and the #13 in exchange for experience.

mrblazer said...


Respectfully, i disagree that #13, #33, #36, and Jack will get us into the top five. It's just not that easy. You either have an inflated view of Jack's value or a deflated view of the value of a top five pick.

Also, i don't think you HAVE to pair a combo guard with another one. That is certainly an option during a game. However, a true PG would work just fine with Roy, especially to start games. In fact, with most great teams, the main rotation at guard consists of 3 players playing most of the minutes with another picking up a couple here and there. It's for that reason i'm not too sold on Westbrook.

I hesitate to say too much about him because i honestly haven't seen a whole lot of him. However, if what is said about him is correct, i have a hard time picturing our future guard rotation consisting mostly of Westbrook, Roy, and Rudy. Call me a traditionalist, but i like a true PG to be somewhere in the main rotation.

So, i would have to agree with you that Bayless and Mayo would probably work better on paper for the trailblazers (even though they aren't true PGs and Mayo's background check would set off red flags for KP). Although, like i said at the beginning, i don't think we could even get a whiff of either one of them for #13, #33, #36, and Jack. If i owned a top five selection, i wouldn't even consider that offer.

Shickered said...

I see a possibility to trade a player and a pick to move up to maybe the 9th or 10th pick if a guy we really want is still on the board. I think thats about all Jack and the 13th would land at the moment but that could mean the difference between getting a guy we can really use down the road or getting a guy who's just gonna fill out the second unit where we are loaded.
I think we need to do a 2 for 1 at some stage or we'll be too heavy with mediocre guys like Jack, Blake, Frye, Jones etc.
Is westbrook an upgrade on Jack? If so see if the Clippers have any interest in him and go for the 10th.

Shickered said...

Sorry, thats the Nets with 10th pick and Clips at 7... either way, gauge their interest and make a move up.