Thanks to some struggles with injury, Brandon Roy hasn’t been quite as great this season as he was last season. However, the 25-year old Washington product is still considered one of the best young players in the NBA. Adam Morrison, the former Gonzaga star who was drafted ahead of Roy, is not considered one of the best young players in the NBA.
Nowadays, you won’t find anyone willing to admit they thought Morrison was the better prospect than Roy, but there were plenty of people who thought so before the 2006 draft. According to Wendell Maxey, Blazers coach Nate McMillan may have been one of those people. From the article:
After the hour-long workout at the Blazers’ practice facility, head coach Nate McMillan met with Morrison – the eccentric 6-8 sharpshooter – in his office where the two “talked for a little bit” about the upcoming draft.
“He told me he wanted to pick me if I fell to that spot,” says Morrison, a reserve forward with the Los Angeles Lakers. “He said he’d draft me.”
Plenty of teams underestimated Roy coming into the draft. Boston gave up the rights to the pick that could have netted Roy for a package built around Sebastian Telfair, and Minnesota traded Roy for Randy Foye on draft day. It appears that the Blazers may have been another team that didn’t know just how good Roy was when he was a prospect.
The Blazers have had some tough draft days. Sometimes they’ve been the victims of bad luck (watching #1 pick Greg Oden get injured over and over again), sometimes they’ve made bad decisions (trading the pick that could have netted them Chris Paul because they were satisfied with Sebastian Telfair), and sometimes they’ve made bad decisions compounded by bad luck. (Picking Bowie over Jordan and watching him get injured.) In 2006, it looks like the Blazers might have caught a good break on draft day. What’s more, it was man they declined to draft in 1984 who helped them out by reaching for Morrison.
With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).
Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.
It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.
The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).
Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.
Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.
His swagger certainly remains intact.