2012 NBA Draft Preview: Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers need to secure UConn Center Andre Drummond at No. 6.

The 2012 NBA Draft is upon us, and the Portland Trail Blazers have plenty of options with the No. 6 and No. 11 picks in the draft. With Brandon Roy and Greg Oden out of the picture, Portland will need to make the best of this year’s draft to stay competitive.

Ideally, Portland will hope to secure Connecticut center Andre Drummond with their first pick. Drafting Drummond would be a gamble, especially after the Greg Oden experiment went horribly wrong, but while some scouts see Drummond as a Kwame Brown, others see him developing into a Dwight Howard.

“I don’t really compare myself to anybody,” Drummond said. “I compare myself to Andre Drummond. I’m not really trying to model my game after anybody. I’m trying to create my own brand and my own mold as a person. I don’t want to be like the next person, I want to be myself and do things differently.”

At 6’11″ with a wingspan over 7’6″, Drummond has the upside and potential to be dominant. Although his college numbers were sub-par (10 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and an embarrassing 29% from the free throw line), Drummond has kept busy in the offeseason working out in New York with trainer Idan Ravin. He’s also been saying all of the right things to the media, expressing his vows to work hard and focus all of his energy on improving as a player.

“All I can tell you is that no matter what team I get drafted to, whoever I’m with, I’m going to work my hardest,” Drummond said. “I’m going to do the best I can and play to the best of my abilities. I can’t dictate the future and know what I’m going to do. All I know is that I’m going to go out there and give it my all.”

If Drummond falls to Portland at No. 6, there will be plenty of solid guards available at No. 11. A good fit at No. 11, if available, would be Weber State point guard Damian Lillard. Some experts are projecting Lillard as a top 6 pick, but I don’t see any scenario where Lillard goes that high. New Orleans may snag him with the 10th pick, which would leave North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall available at No. 11. Alternatively, there will be plenty of shooting guards available, including Austin Rivers, Dion Waiters, and Jeremy Lamb. Another option would be Kentucky small forward Terrence Jones. While Golden State has shown interest in Jones with the 7th pick, they may opt for Sullinger or Perry Jones III instead, leaving Jones to possibly fall to Portland at No. 11. If Jones is off the board, Portland will likely upgrade at point guard.

Drummond met with numerous teams at the NBA Combine, including the New Orleans Hornets, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers among others. With that being said, there’s a chance that Drummond isn’t available at No. 6. If Drummond goes in the top 5, Portland will likely opt for one of the other players projected to go before him. Davis will be gone at No. 1, but the options for picks 2-5 include Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, and Harrison Barnes.

Best-Case Scenario:
Andre Drummond / Damian Lillard
Next-Best Options:
Andre Drummond / Kendall Marshall
Andre Drummond / Terrence Jones
Bradley Beal / Meyers Leonard
Harrison Barnes / Meyers Leonard
Other Good Scenarios:
Harrison Barnes / Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal / Terrence Jones
Damian Lillard / Meyers Leonard
Perry Jones III / Terrence Jones

There have been rumors that Portland may trade up or down, but either way, Portland will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the draft this year.

Check out our 2012 NBA Mock Draft!

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