Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I blame Martell for our woes

Watching the guys on PTI break down the news of the day brought up a few interesting topics. Primarily the story of another Oden knee surgery. I had already written him off, so I can't say that I care much. But the story of Martell Webster going for the dunk when his team is down 3 with the clock winding down made me think about something.
Portland's front office is getting some heat for taking Oden over Kevin Durant, and deservedly so. But I think the franchise changing decision happened two years prior. Portland had just beaten the odds and won the 3rd pick in the 2005 draft lottery. Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams were the consensus 1st and 2nd picks, respectively. Portland hadn't expected to have this pick, and thought they'd use this to their advantage. They had taken a point guard the year prior by reaching to choose Sebastian Telfair. So the genius that is the Blazers brain trust decided to trade down to pick 6 and draft Martell, instead of the three point guards, Derron Williams, Chris Paul, and Ray Felton. One could argue that they didn't need a point guard. Then why did they draft Jarrett Jack with their pick later in the first round? Not buying it. You can talk upside all day, but when all is said and done everyone knew there were two special point guards in that draft. Martell was a project, and with hindsight we can see that project has failed. So let's say we take Derron Williams instead of trading the pick, he was rated higher than Chris Paul. His averages of a little over 10 points and 4 assists were comparable with those of Telfair (9 points, 3 assists) or Steve Blake (8 points, 4 assists). Portland had the worst record in the NBA the following year. I don't think the hypothetical addition of Derron Williams would have changed that. We don't get the 1st pick, we don't get the 2nd pick, we don't get the 3rd pick. We get the 4th pick, trade it for LaMarcus, trade Telfair for the pick that would be Brandon Roy. Things are looking up in Portland! Which means we improve our record beyond the sixth worst record. Who do we take in that draft? Who cares, we wouldn't have had to take Oden! He would be some other teams problem right now. We would still have the Roy situation, but we would either have an expiring contract of Derron Williams this year or have traded him for some value instead of Ray Felton. What'd we trade Martell for? Luke Babbitt. How's that working out for us so far?

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