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DRAFT PICKS: Round 1: #22 Round 2: #33, #38, #55

Draft History
2008 2007 2006 2005
13. Brandon Rush 1. Greg Oden 4. Tyrus Thomas 6. Martell Webster
    30. Joel Freeland 27. Linas Kleiza
* Draft rights traded      

2008–2009 Record

  • 54-28, lost in first round to Houston

Offensive

  • 113.9 (1st)

Defensive

  • 107.8 (13th)

Free Agents:

Areas of Strength:

Youthful exuberance. Portland's 29-year-old point guard Steve Blake comes off looking like Old Man Withers in a starting lineup that's composed of four other players all below the age of 24. The Blazers' roster not only makes them an exciting team to watch, but has made it a close-knit group. A lot of the players are experiencing success at the NBA level for the first time together.

Needs Work:

Interior scoring. The best thing that LaMarcus Aldridge, maybe the team's best big man, does is hit an 18-foot jump shot. One center, Greg Oden, is coming along slower than expected while the other, Joel Przybilla, averaged only 3.8 points per game and earns his playing time on the defensive end. Having somebody to dump the ball into won't just get Portland high-percentage shots at the basket, but it will open up things for Brandon Roy outside.

Two Stats That Matter:

  • 9.9 -- Portland's fast-break points allowed per game in 2008-09, best in the league.
  • +35 -- According to 82games.com, the +/- per 48 minutes for the Blazers' five-man unit of Steve Blake, Rudy Fernandez, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla, also best in the league.

The Way To Go:

This year, the Trail Blazers made the Playoffs for the first time since 2003. The future is even brighter. The Blazers are far enough under the cap to bring in a moderately priced free agent ($5 million/season range) next season, most likely a backup forward to spell LaMarcus Aldridge.

Speaking of Aldridge, general manager Kevin Pritchard should tackle getting him and Brandon Roy locked into long-term extensions as soon as possible to avoid the situation that plagued Chicago a couple of seasons ago when management didn?t give its young talent a commitment and the Bulls crumbled because of it. The Blazers could be a busy team on Draft night. Not only do they have a first rounder and four second-round picks to play with, but they also have overlapping players at small forward (Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw) and point guard (Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez) that they can use in a package deal to move up the board and into the lottery.

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