The NBA Draft Lottery is a defining moment for every franchise, as it determines the fate of 14 teams vying for top-tier potential talent. The Portland Trail Blazers draft lottery history, in particular, includes both exhilaration and disappointment.
Let’s explore Portland’s lottery experiences in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2022, highlighting the rises and falls in their draft positions. We will also examine the star players who were selected just before and after the Blazers in each of those years.
2005: A one-pick improvement leads to a flurry of other moves
In 2005, the Trail Blazers entered the NBA Draft Lottery with a solid chance of securing a high pick to bolster their roster. Luck was on their side, as their projected fourth overall pick became the third overall pick.
Hours before the 2005 NBA Draft, the Blazers traded that pick to the Utah Jazz for the sixth pick, 27th pick, and a first-rounder in 2006, originally from Detroit.
By trading back three spots, the Blazers passed on Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Raymond Felton to draft high-schooler Martell Webster from Seattle Preparatory School. Webster showcased glimpses of potential during his time in Portland, but ultimately fell short of becoming the star player the franchise had hoped for.
The 27th pick was used to acquire Jarrett Jack from the Denver Nuggets.
The 2006 pick, 30th overall, was used on Joel Freeland.
2006: GM Steve Patterson shows his genius
The 2006 NBA Draft brought both excitement and disappointment for the Trail Blazers. Expectations were high as Portland entered the lottery with the best odds at the No. 1 pick. Although the Blazers ended up with the fourth overall pick, they managed to acquire two future franchise legends in this draft.
With the first overall pick, the Toronto Raptors drafted Italian forward Andrea Bargnani. This paved the way for the Blazers to secure a player who would leave a lasting impact.
With the second pick, the Chicago Bulls chose LaMarcus Aldridge and traded him to Portland to acquire their fourth overall pick, Tyrus Thomas, and Viktor Khryapa.
Aldridge became a cornerstone player for the Blazers, earning multiple All-Star nods and solidifying himself as one of the best power forwards of his era.
Portland then traded Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and a 2008 second-round pick to the Boston Celtics for the No. 7 pick, Raef LaFrentz, Dan Dickau, and a 2008 second-round draft pick.
The genius of then-general manager Steve Patterson became apparent when he used the seventh pick to force the Minnesota Timberwolves’ hand. The Timberwolves had agreed to trade Brandon Roy to the Houston Rockets for Randy Foye. By drafting Foye at pick No. 7, the Blazers were able to acquire Roy for Foye and just a million dollars in cash.
Roy would go on to become a Blazers’ legend and was a likely Hall of Famer before his disastrous knee injury.
The 2006 draft marked a fortunate turn of events for the Blazers, as they capitalized on their missed chance at the No. 1 overall pick.
2007: Immense lottery luck is followed by an unlucky outcome
The 2007 NBA Draft Lottery proved to be another rollercoaster ride for the Trail Blazers. Entering with the projected seventh overall pick, they experienced a significant rise, securing the first overall pick.
With that pick, the Trail Blazers opted for Greg Oden, a dominant center from Ohio State University. While Oden showed flashes of his immense talent, his career was plagued by injuries, preventing him from reaching his full potential.
Obtaining the No. 1 pick was incredibly lucky but ended up being a prime example of just how tough drafting in the NBA can be, as the Blazers missed an opportunity to secure a transformative player in Kevin Durant who went just one pick later.
2022: Damian Lillard’s disappointment at the lottery has a happy ending
The 2022 NBA Draft Lottery presented another opportunity for the Trail Blazers to secure a coveted draft position. However, luck was not on their side as they experienced a disappointing fall, dropping from the projected sixth overall pick to the seventh overall pick.
Just before the Blazers’ selection, the Indiana Pacers made their pick and drafted Bennedict Mathurin, a talented player who can play small forward, which the Blazers desperately need. He finished fourth in the 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting and earned NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
With the seventh overall pick, the Blazers selected now fan favorite Shaedon Sharpe, who joined LeBron James, Durant, and Luka Doncic as the only teenagers to ever post a 30-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist game.