For the first time this offseason, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen attended one of his team’s predraft workouts. Yes, things are finally starting to get interesting at the practice facility in Tualatin. Allen has never been shy about admitting his affinity for the NBA Draft, but he typically saves his predraft visits for only the most important of prospects. Well, the Blazers welcomed their most intriguing NBA Draft hopeful to date on Monday as Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joined five other prospects for an NBA audition. One of the Blazers’ most pressing offseason needs is adding depth at shooting guard and Caldwell-Pope has the size (6-foot-5), shooting ability and defensive prowess to mature into an NBA rotation player. “I can bring a lot,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I play both sides of the ball. I defend. I have an offensive game. I rebound the ball. I get steals a lot. Just a lot (I) can bring to the team.” It seems most likely that Blazers general manager Neil Olshey explores the trade market this month and dangles the team’s No. 10 overall selection as bait to lure a starting center to Portland next season. But if a trade partner doesn’t materialize and the Blazers end up using their only first-round pick, it appears Caldwell-Pope is a legitimate target. Team performance psychologist Dana Sinclair interviewed him at the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month and, in addition to Monday’s on-court evaluation, members of the team’s management group spent time with him during a dinner Sunday evening shortly after he arrived into town. “We had a great conversation,” Caldwell-Pope said of the dinner, which Allen did not attend. “They got to know me. I asked some questions. So it went well.” And how about his workout on Monday? Caldwell-Pope said that although his jump shot was merely “average,” he felt good about his performance. He said the team put him and the other five prospects through a series of shooting drills, ballhandling exercises and a surplus of three-on-three and one-on-one competitions.
Trail Blazers evaluate NBA Draft target Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Oregonian | Jun 3