With just over one week remaining in the NBA regular season, teams that will miss the playoffs can now turn their attention towards the upcoming draft to add some young talent.
Portland entered this season with high hopes, but losing Brandon Roy and Greg Oden has hurt this franchise, and the Trail Blazers now must use the draft and free agency to rebuild. Portland struggled on the road this season, winning just eight games, but with a couple of good moves this off-season, this team can compete for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs next season.
Portland has two early picks in the first round and have several options to choose from. The team's biggest need is at center, but help in the back-court is also needed, and the front office will be busy evaluating talent over the next few weeks.
Jeremy Lamb from Connecticut is just 19, but the young shooting guard has made vast improvements in his game and it showed this season. Lamb played over 37 minutes per game for the Huskies and led the team in scoring with 17.7 points per game, and with a good pull-up jumper and over 80% shooting from the line, his game has him a top-ten talent this year. Lamb also averaged nearly five rebounds per game and is a decent defender, making him a good choice for the Trail Blazers as they look to rebound from their poor year.
The loss of Oden was big and set the franchise back a couple of years, but this year has a good group of big men and Portland could use that to make a quick turnaround. Perry Jones from Baylor is 6'11", but has skills that are scary good. Jones returned to the Bears for a second season, but his focus needs to improve if he wants to become a dominating force in the league.
Another option in the middle for the Trail Blazers is Meyers Leonard from Illinois. Leonard is 7'1" and a solid 240 pounds, but his offensive skills could use more work and another year in college is probably best, but the youngster has declared for the draft and Portland could slowly bring him along. With some good coaching and time, this youngster could become the steal of the 2012 NBA Draft.
Portland has always been a solid team at home, but this team needs an experienced floor leader to take this team to the next level. Adding a couple of youngsters will improve this team, but changes at point guard will play a big key in how this team performs next season.