Another disappointing end to the season has brought turbulence to the Portland front office. With the opportunity to add at least one quality player to the roster, I hope to see the GM position settled soon. Lets take a look at what Kevin Pritchard or someone else will be working with:
Returning Players- Marcus Camby (C); Joel Przybilla (C – Player Option); Andre Miller (PG); LaMarcus Aldridge (PF); Greg Oden (C); Martell Webster (SG); Brandon Roy (SG); Jerryd Bayless (PG); Rudy Fernandez (PG); Nicolas Batum (SF); Dante Cunningham (PF); Jeff Pendergraph (PF)
Team Payroll (12 Players) – $65,160,378
Estimated Salary Cap – $56,000,000
Team Needs- Depth on the wings; Defensive stoppers and rebounders;
Position Needs – SG, SF
Picks – 1st Round (#22), 2nd Round (#44)
Analysis- Though Kevin Pritchard has built Portland into one of the more competitive teams in the League, he may be out of a job, and the team is still struggling to move into the group of elite teams. There is an impressive array of talent at all positions, yet the team lacks toughness, especially at the center and point guard positions. Look for the Blazers to snatch the best defender/rebounder available at #22. An ideal choice, if he is still available, would be Devin Ebanks from West Virginia. While still needing improvement on the offensive end, Ebanks is a top-notch athlete and an excellent on-ball defender and rebounder. Two other options who also provide similar skills, but without as much upside, are Damion James and Quincy Pondexter. Both are 4 year guys who can also provide some maturity to a team with a large amount of young players.
With the #44 pick, Portland may look to go overseas and find a player who will stay in Europe for another year or two. This was made possible by the 3 quality second round picks from last season – Dante Cunningham, Patty Mills and Jeff Pendergraph. Looking to the future, Portland may look at long-term needs with someone like Alexey Shved, a 6’6 point guard or Tibor Pleiss, a 7 foot German who has shown surprising skills over the last year.
Of course, this is all subject to change if GM Pritchard is replaced. Either way, for Portland to take the next step, they need to become a much tougher team.