If you’re a Portland Trail Blazers’ fan you might have watched the 2014 NBA Draft, but you probably had no general rooting interest as the Blazers did not own any picks in it. I sat and watched and hoped to see that Portland had traded, or purchased a pick, to enter the second round – especially when Cleanthony Early starting dropping – but it wasn’t meant to be.
Portland has stated that they would stand pat all along as they have their young core of starters and a fresh young crop of first round picks on their bench as well.
What happened to their picks this year, you ask? Let’s take a look.
2014 First Round Pick (No. 24)
This pick was traded away as part of the Gerald Wallace trade on Feb. 24, 2011. The full trade was a robbery by the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets again) as Portland sent Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks a 2011 first round pick (Tobias Harris) and a 2014 first round pick (Shabazz Napier was selected 24th overall in last night’s draft).
That’s quite the haul for a player in Gerald Wallace, who only played 65 games for the Blazers over two partial seasons; though he did average a whopping 14.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during those games — that’s enough for two first round picks, right? It’s always easy to look back on trades and think, “what were they thinking?!” but Wallace was still only 28 at the time of this trade and he had just come off his first (and only) All-Star appearance just two seasons prior.
So in a roundabout way the Blazers traded the 24th pick from last night’s draft for Damian Lillard. Point, Portland.
2014 Second Round Pick (No. 56)
This pick was traded away as part of the Raymond Felton Jr. trade on Jun. 23, 2011. This was a three-team trade involving the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. Here’s a breakdown:
Portland Received: Raymond Felton and Tanguy Ngombo
Dallas Received: Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen
This was pretty lopsided as well. Not only did the Blazers give up the 2014 second round pick but they gave up two starters in Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller for a dreadful Raymond Felton. Felton played in only 60 games, averaging 11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game during his time with Portland.
A little over a year after acquiring Felton, the Blazers moved him to the New York Knicks with Kurt Thomas for Dan Gadzuric, Jared Jeffries, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, cash and a 2016 second round pick. So time will tell if the Blazers got the better of this deal or not, but at the time they gave up a ton for Felton which obviously did not work out.
With that 2014 second round pick (No. 56 overall) Roy Devyn Marble was selected. Who knows how he will fare, or if he will even get a shot in the league anytime soon.
All of this basically to say, it’s not always bad when your team doesn’t have picks in the NBA Draft. Again, the Blazers have multiple first round picks on their bench right now that need developing and adding another late first or second round pick isn’t going to move the needle at all for the immediate future.
The Blazers need to place all of their focus into finding two affordable free agents who can come in and help substantiate this horrid bench production. Sometimes, less is more and this is one of those times.