With the thirteenth pick in the 2008 SBNation NBA Mock Draft, the Portland Trailblazers, represented by Blazers Edge, select...
Brandon Rush, Guard/Forward, University of (k)ansas. 6-7, 211lbs.
Blazers Edge says:
A couple of the guys the Blazers would have prized--Joe Alexander, Russell Westbrook, and DJ Augustin--have already gone off of the board. Danilo Gallinari is a tempting name but with small forward projects Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster already on board the thought of raising another one is neither pleasant nor practical. Besides the Blazers need more outright athleticism at the wing positions and Gallinari, as smart and skilled as he is, isn’t that guy.
Rush may seem like a reach at 13 but he has a few things Portland prizes. He’s athletic, he can shoot, and he can defend. That’s the holy trinity of Blazer backcourt needs…especially the defensive part of the equation. The Blazers need to protect their big men from drawing fouls trying to block a constant barrage of drivers. Rush can at least get a body in front of somebody. Plus he stands 6’7", which is great height for a shooting guard. It’s true that Brandon Roy already has most of the off-guard minutes sewn up but there’s been some talk of letting him handle the ball more and/or running more three-guard sets. Rush would complement Roy and Rudy Fernandez in either of those situations. Portland could conceivably field a skilled, athletic team where nobody stood smaller than 6’6".
The icing on the cake is Rush’s status as a Kansas Jayhawk and champion. He has experience and knows how to win, two qualities highly prized by Blazers’ GM Kevin Pritchard, a former Jayhawk himself.
It’s entirely possible that Portland will move this pick trading up, down, or out of the draft entirely. But if they do draft for themselves at 13, look for them to take a guy they know can contribute.
The Golden State Warriors, represented by Golden State of Mind, are on the clock.
The 2008 SB Nation Mock Draft so far:
1. Chicago Bulls- Blog-A-Bull: Derrick Rose
2. Miami Heat- Peninsula is Mightier: Michael Beasley
3. Minnesota Timberwolves- Canis Hoopus: OJ Mayo
4. Seattle Supersonics- Ridiculous Upside: Eric Gordon
5. Memphis Grizzlies- 3 Shades of Blue: Kevin Love
6. New York Knicks- Posting and Toasting: Russell Westbrook
7. Los Angeles Clippers- Clips Nation: Jerryd Bayless
8. Milwaukee Bucks- BrewHoop: Anthony Randolph
9. Charlotte Bobcats- Queen City Hoops: Joe Alexander
10. New Jersey Nets-Nets Daily: Brook Lopez
11. Indiana Pacers-Indy Cornrows: DJ Augustin
12. Sacramento Kings- Sactown Royalty: Marreese Speights
13. Portland Trailblazers-Blazers Edge: Brandon Rush