Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…
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The Portland Trail Blazers will most likely be drafting in the lottery for the second-straight year and the seventh time in 10 years (their first-round pick is owed to Charlotte but is top-12 protected). But something is still missing. Despite the promise of young stars and proven talents, the team still requires more talent to get over the hump.
Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
ONE: What Do We Know About The Portland Trail Blazers?
The future of the Blazers seems to be in good hands with Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Meyers Leonard. They are all 27 or under, giving the team a quality core. They defend the three well, get to the line, and are in the middle of the pack on both ends of the floor.
Other than those four, the team has only Joel Freeland, Victor Claver and Will Barton under contract past this year.
TWO: What Do They Need?
Adding more depth to the team has to be the number one priority (with the position not mattering). Point guard, shooting guard, forwards, centers, combos, shooters, rebounders, playmakers, and basketball players in general are the needs of the Blazers. Their starters were great, averaging 81.9 points per game, but the bench did not provide any consistency to assist the most used starting lineup in the league.
Lillard (38.6 minutes a night) played more than any other point guard. Aldridge (37.7) played more than any other power forward. Batum (38.4) was the second-most played small forward, and Matthews (34.8) played more minutes than all but seven other shooting guards. So, in a word, the Blazers need depth.
THREE: Stock Falling
With the early entry deadline passing this past Sunday, the talent pool has thinned out even more with only 40 freshmen, sophomores and juniors declaring for the NBA Draft. This was already a draft null and void of potential franchise-changing talents, but with the likes of Marcus Smart, Isaiah Austin, Adreian Payne and others returning, the 2013 NBA Draft itself saw its stock fall a little bit more.
FOUR: Stock Rising
There is always a benefactor to any situation and with the lack of early entry talent this year, the prospects abroad will see a rise. The likes of Dennis Schroeder (Germany), Livio Jean-Charles (France), and Mouhammadou Jaiteh (France) are the three that will benefit the most as first-round picks. Just two weeks ago, they were all mid-to-late second-round picks. The second round has the potential to be littered with talented internationals as draft and stash prospects because of the lack of this draft’s depth.