The 2017 NBA draft ruined Portland’s best shot at a title with Damian Lillard

Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Justin Jackson, Portland Trail Blazers
Justin Jackson, Portland Trail Blazers – Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Draft Mistake #2: Trading the 15th and 20th picks for the 10th pick

If the Blazers weren’t trading up to grab a potential future star at 10, it begs the question of what were they thinking. Given the team already had two stars, it would be understandable if they were more concerned with depth and following the formula of filling positional needs.

Had they stayed at the 15th and 20th picks, they would’ve had the chance to grab key role players at either forward position. Ten of the top 14 picks in the 2017 NBA draft were either guards or centers, which led to a veritable glut of forward prospects in the middle of the first round.

Although Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, and Jonathan Isaac had already been taken, there are a number of forwards drafted that year that are still playing in the NBA today.

If they wanted to lean toward offense, they could’ve targeted John Collins with the 15th pick. If they were more inclined to beef up their defensive prowess, the team could’ve swung for OG Anunoby or doubled up at center with Jarrett Allen.

Again, it’s easy to condemn the poor selections with the benefit of current context, but the drafting philosophy from the team looked flawed then and now. If they wanted a star, they shouldn’t have taken Zach Collins.

If they wanted a forward like Collins, they could’ve selected one like the other Collins, T.J. Leaf, or Harry Giles at 15 and targeted a wing like Anunoby at 20th.

Instead of building out their depth, which would’ve been a savvy way to support the team they’d constructed through the draft and the trade deadline, the Blazers zigged when they should’ve zagged and missed out on adding multiple rotation forwards to their team.