TUALATIN, Ore. -- Paul Allen loves the NBA draft. But what he really loves is the process leading up to draft day. He pores over scouting material and film as if he's some kind of basketball lifer who doesn't have any interests outside of the gym. (And if you follow his 140-character Twitter stories on travel and music, you know that's not true.)
Allen knows what the San Antonio Spurs found out long ago. The draft is the most cost-efficient and safe way of building a contending team; a team that's built to stand the test of time. The Blazers roster is now littered with keen draft day acquisitions, like LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and the reigning Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard.
Portland has four draft choices this month, including the 10th overall selection. If he's even available, they'd probably love to pluck Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with their first pick. Caldwell-Pope was a big reason Allen dropped in on Monday's pre-draft workout at team headquarters.
I'm on a mission. Just out here to prove myself, said Caldwell-Pope following his workout in front of team officials. (He also dined with several of them on Sunday night).
Caldwell-Pope is a shooting guard, which is the position currently manned by Wesley Matthews. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18 ppg, 7 rpg and 2 steals during his sophomore season at Georgia, and is listed at 6'-5 .
I bring a lot, he said. I play both sides of the ball.
Anyone who watched the Blazers play the defensive side of the ball last season knows the team can use that kind of help. And Pope wouldn't mind a back-court mate like Lillard.
I've seen him a couple of times. He just plays, said Pope. [He] creates for his teammates. Being a part of that would just open it up.
He was talking about opening up the floor for his own perimeter game to flourish. And he smiled as he said it, knowing full well what playing with a point guard like Damian could mean to his game.
Another intriguing player in the building was the A-Sun conference Player of the Year Sherwood Brown. Brown spearheaded one of the more improbable NCAA Tournament runs in the event's history when 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast reached the Sweet 16.
To be honest, he admitted, if we don't make that kind of run, you probably don't see me right now. Brown played all four years at school, as most players in the A-Sun conference tend to do. So he knows how to study and certainly did his homework on the Blazers.
They had a really young team, he said. I know they're looking to add some players who can help get them to the playoffs.
That's the whole idea behind this process. It's why the idea man was in the building...