Pick 21: The internet rumour mill is again doing its thing, speculating about a possible Blazers trade with Denver of Andre Miller for Raymond Felton. It is initially said that the two will swap first round draft picks as a part of the deal, and this is the prevalent rumour when Portland drafted Nolan Smith at #21. Ultimately, however, the draft picks were not included in the trade.
It is not out of the realms of possibility that the initial agreement was to swap picks with Denver, and that Portland drafted Smith for the Nuggets with this in mind. This might have to suffice as an explanation, because if that wasn't the case, then the reasons for taking Nolan are unclear. I say that as a fan of Smith's, having championed him as a late first round as recently as two weeks ago. Yet #21 is a little high for him, especially with Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried still on the board, both of whom are likely to be more productive than Smith, with higher upside. Furthermore, Smith also plays a position of no need for Portland, who already boast a excess of guards in Felton, Armon Johnson, Patty Mills, Brandon Roy, Wesley Matthews, and the forgotten man Elliot Williams. A guard spot is cleared when it is discovered that Rudy Fernandez goes to Dallas as a part of the trade [more on this later], yet there is still no clearcut need nor reason for choosing Smith in that spot.
That said, it's not too bad of a reach. Picks 20 through 40 are about equal in this draft. They're likely all backups.
(It is also not out of the realms of possibility that Denver waives Miller, whose contract for year is unguaranteed. If/when Nene opts out, the Nuggets will then have HUGE cap space, particularly if they amnesty Chris Andersen or Al Harrington. Of course, much of that money will have to be spent on retaining their own free agents. And the idea has already been shot down once. But it's a possibility until it isn't.)
Note: Non-US teams that the player
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