The 2022-23 NBA regular season has come to a close; mercifully, in the case of most Portland Trail Blazers fans and players.
The year ended with an epic loss (because of course it would), the organization accomplished its goal of tanking to give itself the best lottery odds at a transcendent prospect, and the players backed head coach Chauncey Billups on the way out.
Here’s the latest Blazers news as the offseason officially gets underway.
What a way to end a tank
Other NBA teams could learn a lesson or two from what transpired in Portland on Easter Sunday.
The Blazers needed to lose to cement themselves as the fifth-worst team in the league by record, and they did, although maybe they didn’t need to do it so painfully.
Portland gave up an NBA-record 55 points to the Golden State Warriors – in the opening quarter. The Warriors hit 12 threes in the first 12 minutes.
That led to a 157-101 loss, the worst at home in Blazers franchise history.
The NBA-record 55 the Warriors put up in the first quarter could have been zero, and Portland still would have lost.
Stephen Curry had a game-high 26 points before he exited for the night after less than 23 minutes.
The official NBA Draft Lottery odds are set
Portland accomplished what it wanted to, giving itself the best chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft.
Since the Blazers were late to the tanking party compared to teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons (more on them later), they had to hurry up and lose as much as possible over the last month of the season.
Dropping 15 of your last 17 games would be a success, then, in that case.
The Blazers locked up those fifth-best lottery odds they were shooting for, though. They now have a 10.5 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick.
Here’s our Portland-centric big board heading into start of the pre-draft process.
Blazers back Billups
Speaking of Detroit – now that Dwane Casey has decided to take his coaching talents into the front office, the Pistons have an opening at head coach.
Some people began to play connect the dots between Billups, who’s had a rough go of it since becoming the head man in Portland, and that now-vacant spot on the bench in Detroit where Billups led the Pistons to a title and earned the nickname Mr. Big Shot.
Those people clearly aren’t in the Blazers organization, though:
Perhaps most importantly for Billups, his boss feels the same way: