Reviewing the Trail Blazers options before the 2022 NBA Draft lottery

The 2022 NBA Draft lottery is here. Tomorrow night, a small collection of ping pong balls will determine the futures of 14 franchises.

Without the lottery, the Portland Trail Blazers would have gotten the sixth pick in June’s draft. Instead, teams rarely stay put per their record; a trend that has become even more prevalent with the new lottery rules that were implemented to discourage tanking.

What if luck were to go their way in 2022, and they end up with the number one pick? The current state of the Blazers — with a franchise player smack-dab in the middle of his prime but few bulletproof talents around — leaves the organization with several options as to how they can approach their draft pick.

2022 NBA Draft lottery, Portland Trail Blazers

2022 NBA Draft lottery, Portland Trail Blazers Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers have options following the 2022 NBA Draft lottery

Do they keep it and instill confidence in General Manager Joe Cronin in hopes that a Greg Oden or Sam Bowie situation won’t occur once again? Or, do they trade the pick for a star player who will complement Damian Lillard?

As the playoffs have progressed, more and more players have seemingly sprung available. Before the postseason began, many would have thought that James Harden‘s future with his new team, the Philadelphia 76ers, was secure. Now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either party cut bait with the other.

After bowing out in the second round in an embarrassing Game 7 blowout, perhaps the Phoenix Suns will deem that their franchise is best off moving forward without Deandre Ayton. This would open up the possibility of a sign-and-trade or even Ayton landing on a new team outright in free agency.

By draft day, there could be several established star players that are available for the right price.

If the Blazers are to keep their selection, there’s no telling right now which direction they’d be leaning. It wouldn’t be absurd to think that they may even trade back in the draft if they land one of the top picks to accumulate as much talent as possible.

Many of the current mock drafts have Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren going first. but perhaps Portland thinks that Duke power forward Paolo Banchero or Auburn star wing Jabari Smith would be the safer choices.

5:00 PM Pacific Time Tuesday cannot come soon enough. Lillard will be there to represent the Blazers and hopefully hold the envelope that will determine his costar for his first championship.