Should the Blazers try to trade up for a Top 10 pick?

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The NBA draft is 16 days away. The Portland Trail Blazers begin draft workouts on Wednesday. And a chorus of media chatter is starting to swell, indicating Portland may be one of the busiest teams on draft night.

News broke last week that the Blazers had engaged in trade discussions with the Knicks and Nets. A natural inquiry was whether Portland would target the Knicks' first-round pick, the No. 8 selection.

On Monday, CBS Sports' Reid Forgrave speculated in his mock draft that the Blazers would trade their three first-round picks, Nos. 15, 20 and 26, to the Orlando Magic for the sixth overall pick in order to select Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen.

NBA DRAFT
Thursday, June 22

4 p.m., ESPN

The round of rumors and speculation beg the question: If the Blazers try to package their picks an attempt to move up in the draft, how high a pick could they acquire? And would it be worth it?

How high a pick could the Blazers get?

Judging by draft-day trade precedent over the past 15 years and depending on how many of their picks the Blazers are willing to package, Portland could possibly move as high as the seventh overall selection.

The Blazers' three first-round selections all fall outside the lottery. There have been only four trades in the past 15 years where a team packaged multiple picks outside of the first 13 selections to acquire a pick in or around the Top 10.

2001: ROCKETS AND NETS

Rockets received: No. 7
Rockets gave up: No. 13, No. 18, No. 23

2013: JAZZ AND TIMBERWOLVES

Jazz received: No. 9
Jazz gave up: No. 14, No. 21

2014: BULLS AND NUGGETS

*Bulls received: No. 11
Bulls gave up: No. 16, No. 19

2016: SUNS AND KINGS

Suns received: No. 8
**Suns gave up: No. 13, No. 28, future 2nd-round pick

Judging by the four examples above, the Blazers may have an opportunity to package all or some of their draft picks (with the 15th overall selection being a necessity in any trade) and move up somewhere between No. 7 and No. 11.

Would a trade to move into the Top 10 be worth it?

Would it be worth it for the Blazers to make that kind of a move on draft night? Let's look at what happened with each of those deals, trade by trade.

2001: ROCKETS

The Rockets moved up to draft Eddie Griffin, whose career was cut short by drug abuse after five seasons. He died in a car crash in 2007. Griffin averaged 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in his career. The Nets drafted Richard Jefferson with the 13th pick, Jason Collins with the 18th pick and Brandon Armstrong with the 23rd pick. Jefferson has played 16 seasons in the NBA and averaged almost 13 points per game over his career. In his prime, he averaged close to 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Collins was a starting center for the Nets and played 13 seasons in the NBA. Trade winner: Nets

2013: JAZZ

The Jazz drafted point guard Trey Burke. Burke has averaged 10.6 points and 3.6 assists in his first four seasons in the NBA. He is no longer with the Jazz and averaged about 12 minutes per game in 57 games last season with the Washington Wizards. The Timberwolves drafted Shabazz Muhammad with the 14th pick and Gorgui Dieng with the 21st selection. Muhammad and Dieng both play big roles for the Timberwolves. Muhammad averages about 10 points per game off the bench and Dieng became the starting center for Minnesota this season, averaging about 10 points, eight rebounds and a block per game. Trade winner: Timberwolves

2014: BULLS

The Bulls drafted Doug McDermott with the 11th selection. McDermott has failed to live up to expectations and is no longer with Chicago. He's averaged about eight points per game as a good 3-point shooter (career 39 percent) off the bench (only nine starts in 183 games). The Nuggets drafted Jusuf Nurkic with the 16th pick and Gary Harris with the 19th pick. Nurkic fell out of favor in Denver, but is now a fan favorite in Portland after averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks per game with the Blazers last season. Harris is now the starting shooting guard in Denver and averaged about 15 points, three rebounds and three assists per game last season while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from the 3-point line. Trade winner: Nuggets

2016: SUNS

The Kings drafted Georgios Papagiannis with the 13th pick and Skal Labissiere with the 28th pick. Papagiannis played in only 22 games, averaging about six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes per game. Labissiere averaged about nine points and five rebounds per game in 33 games, but came on strong after the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Bogdanovich is still playing overseas but the Kings may bring him over next season. Trade winner: Too soon to tell

In three of the four aforementioned trades (with the fourth early to call), each time a team packaged multiple first-round picks to move up into the top 10 (or close to it), the team that moved up lost the trade.

The Blazers have a lot of different options with these draft picks. They could use them to trade for veteran talent. They can package them with some of their players with large contracts to shed salary. They could just draft three rookies.

But if the Blazers are tempted to package their picks to move up into the top 10 of this draft, history indicates they may want to proceed with caution.

Jared Cowley is a digital producer at KGW.

* The Bulls also took on Anthony Randolph and the one year and $1.8 million left on his contract.

** The Suns also traded away the rights to international draft prospect Bogdan Bogdanovich (not Bojan Bogdanovic, who plays for the Washington Wizards).

© 2017 KGW-TV


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