The Oregonian’s Jason Quick has an informative recap of “How the Jail Blazers became the Frail Blazers”, though with a non-disclosure keeping former GM Kevin Pritchard quiet and Paul Allen not talking, it’s left to former President and one-year GM Steve Patterson (above) to look back on the Blazers’ drafting process and provide the now-obligatory Kevin Durant second-guess.
Like many NBA teams, the Blazers medical staff assigns a ranking to a potential draft pick or player they are interested in acquiring. Of the seven players on the Blazers’ current roster who were drafted in the first round by Portland from 2006-2010, five were rated as high risk from a medical standpoint, including one who was essentially given a red flag as dangerous to draft. Because of laws protecting the privacy of players, the team would not disclose those players’ names.
Steve Patterson, who served as Blazers president from June of 2003 through March of 2007 as well as handling general manager duties from 2006-2007, said the Blazers’ medical staff was consistently spot-on in their evaluations. He called Blazers doctors Don Roberts and Tom Reis “among the best doctors in the NBA.”
“They had an unique talent to look at a player “ particularly Dr. Roberts when it applied to knees “ and with great precision predict what would happen to that player in the future,” Patterson said.
Patterson said the recommendations of Roberts and Reis were not always followed.
“There were points in time when there were others within the organization who weighed in on decisions who didn’t have the same perspective as the doctors,” Patterson said. “And those decisions came back to haunt the organization.”
The Blazers tell Quick they saw no issues with Roy or Oden’s knees during the drafting process, though Roy’s health was discussed before they gave him a max contract (but they did).