Blazers inactive in NBA Draft, surprised?
The 2014 NBA Draft has come and gone with the Portland Trail Blazers opting to stay out of the draft for the first time in 16 years. This draft was one of the most anticipated, filled with projected difference-makers capable of turning franchises around, as they say.
However, for a team fresh off a 54-win season that includes eight players that are in their first two years in the league and at most, two roster spots available for next season, the organization has made it clear from their stance that its strategy is to improve the team’s depth via free agency.
General Manager Neil Olshey tirelessly and feverishly worked the phones Thursday from start to finish, surveying the landscape, seeing if there was a beneficial deal to be had in order to move into the draft. Some deals were enticing, some not so. Procuring a late first round pick was being discussed, but ultimately that was the extent, we're told.
Owner Paul Allen, who absolutely loves this time of year, was present in the War Room at the Trail Blazers’ practice facility and was just as engaged as ever despite not owning a pick, I’m told. Just because no moves were made today doesn’t mean there was no activity.
You think Allen was in town to just watch other teams draft away? That’s not his or Olshey’s modus operandi. The Trail Blazers were not going to get into the draft just for the sake of obtaining a pick.
CJ McCollum, Will Barton, Meyers Leonard, Thomas Robinson and Allen Crabbe need time to develop. Adding another young prospect could have potentially compromised the upward climb the organization is currently on. Proven veterans and internal improvement are what it’s going to take to move this team along.
At the end of the day, ownership down to management, agreed that staying out of this draft was best. One has to think that it had to have been an arduous decision for Allen and Olshey to reach that conclusion being the aggressors that they are, but what it came down to was the two seeing the bigger picture: this draft wasn't going to improve a team that exited in the second round, free agency is.