On Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers held their first predraft workout and invited six hopefuls to their practice facility just outside Portland. Five of the six players who were invited, are considered to be possible second round selections, while forward Tony Mitchell from North Texas is a likely first rounder.
With three second round selections in the upcoming draft, a source close to the Trail Blazers organization told RidiculousUpside.com that the team will likely take several factors into account when it comes to the draft, including the Stampede (the team's NBA D-League affilate).
After a full season with the Idaho Stampede as their NBADL affiliate, it appears the Blazers may be looking to stash away some newly acquired talent once the draft finishes up on Thursday, June 27. Historically speaking, players selected in the second round are likely to spend time with their club's NBADL affiliate. In fact, this past season the league witnessed 184 assignments involving 58 players, many of whom were second round selections from the previous year's draft.
Obviously, the Blazers will look to fill their needs first and foremost before considering players for their NBADL affiliate, but with three second round selections (39, 40, and 45), the team will likely be thinking about certain players as potential candidates for their NBADL squad. The Blazers are tied with the Grizzlies for the most second round picks in the 2013 draft. Looking at last year's second round, players can have a significant impact as witnessed by the 36th overall pick Draymond Green, and his playoff role with the Golden State Warriors.
In last year's draft, the Blazers had back-to-back second round selections (40,41) and chose Will Barton followed by Tyshawn Taylor (who they traded to Brooklyn for cash considerations). In 73 games, Barton averaged 4.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 14.4 minutes. He also spent 4 games on assignment with the Stampede, and averaged 16.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 37.7 minutes.
Despite their one-to-one relationship with Idaho, Portland opted to assign just four of it's players, six total times last season. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why the team used their affiliate so sparingly, but perhaps the team's overall youth had something to do with the lack in assignments.
It's been reported that Portland GM Neil Olshey may look to trade it's first round pick (10th overall) in return for a veteran center perhaps. Depending on the terms of a potential deal, there will still likely be young talent which Portland will acquire via their second round selections. Thus, these predraft workouts can serve dual purposes as the Blazers look for players to fill their needs, but also search out talent to track for the Stampede's roster.