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Portland Trail Blazers 2012 Draft Preview
By John McMullen, NBA Editor

New general manager Neil Olshey will be at the helm of his first draft in Rip City as he attempts to inject some life into a Portland Trail Blazers franchise ravaged by injuries.

Brandon Roy and Greg Oden are both memories after injury plagued stays in the Pacific Northwest while All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is recovering from season- ending hip surgery.

Olshey has two lottery picks (Nos. 6 and 11) to help build things and since he only has five players under contract and a couple of restricted free agents he can go the best available player route.

The Blazers did extend a qualifying offer to forward Nicolas Batum on Monday, ensuring that the team will have right of first refusal should another team try to sign the emerging Frenchman.

With the earlier selection it looks as if UConn's Andre Drummond, the best center in the draft, could fall to the Blazers. With the 11th selection Portland could go in a number of different directions with Duke shooting guard Austin Rivers, Doc Rivers' son, and Weber State point guard Damian Lillard as options.

Under Contract: F: LaMarcus Aldridge; G: Wesley Matthews; F: Luke Babbit; G: Nolan Smith; F: Elliot Williams

Free Agents: F: Nicolas Batum (restricted); G: Jamal Crawford (unrestricted, player option); G: Raymond Felton; G: Jonny Flynn; F: J.J. Hickson (restricted); C: Joel Pryzbilla; F: Craig Smith; C: Hasheem Thabeet; F: Shawne Williams (unrestricted, player option)

Recent Draft History 2011: Nolan Smith (21), Jon Diebler (51) 2010: Elliot Williams (22), Armon Johnson (34) 2009: Victor Claver (22), Dante Cunningham (33), Jon Brockman (38), Patrick Mills (55) 2008: Brandon Rush (13), Joey Dorsey (33), Omer Asik (36), Mike Taylor (55) 2007: Greg Oden (1), Josh McRoberts (37), Derrick Byars (42), Taurean Green (52), Demetris Nichols (53)

Draft picks: 1st round (6th overall, 11th overall), 2nd round (40th overall, 41st overall)

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