It’s the weekend before the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery when 14 teams will use any good luck charm they have at their disposal – rabbits feet, rubber bands, championship rings, or a former/current player or coach wearing all of them – to try and land the No. 1 overall pick. Here’s the latest Portland Trail Blazers news just five days before the franchise’s offseason plans begin to solidify.
Damian Lillard named All-NBA Third Team
Despite his team massively underperforming, the best offensive season of his career was enough for Damian Lillard to earn a spot on the 2022-23 All-NBA Third Team, his seventh All-NBA nod.
Dame is the franchise leader in All-NBA appearances.
Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game and added 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He finished the season third in the league in scoring.
He set career- and franchise-highs by scoring 71 points against the Houston Rockets and hitting 13 threes.
Dame scored 40 or more points 15 times in 2022-23, including games of 50, 60, and the aforementioned 71.
Despite turning 33 years old next season, Lillard seems to be at the peak of his powers. Hopefully, he’s still in Portland next year to shoot for his eighth All-NBA bid.
Brandon Roy named as Blazers lottery representative
ICYMI, Blazers legend Brandon Roy will be sitting at Portland’s dais for the lottery drawing Tuesday night, which could be a good sign.
The last time Roy was the Trail Blazers’ rep was in 2007. He was coming off a Rookie of the Year campaign and watched a team that had the sixth-best odds at landing the No. 1 pick take a meteoric rise and land that first overall selection.
Portland has picked in the lottery four times since then, but none higher than last season’s No. 7.
The team ended up going with Ohio State center Greg Oden rather than one of the best players in NBA history in Kevin Durant, but the actual pick isn’t the point in this case. The Natural landed Portland the top selection, despite the odds.
If he can…
Bring on Victor Wembanyama
… the Blazers franchise changes forever.
That’s how good the 7-foot-2 (or 7-3, 7-4, or 7-5, according to some scouts) already is at age 19. Wemby is the best draft prospect since LeBron James, who turned out to be pretty good.
The Frenchman is tall, long, athletic, versatile, and skilled. He can drive to the basket, pull up for silky jumpers, and is efficient from three as a spot-up shooter or off the dribble.
Or off the floater.
He’s a versatile, switchable defender who will immediately be one of the NBA’s best rim deterrents. Portland – especially Lillard – deserves a little luck. Hopefully it comes in the form of lottery luck.