This is part one of a two-part series on how lucking into Victor Wembanyama would impact the Portland Trail Blazers, now and in the future.
Damian Lillard has expressed his desire for the Blazers’ front office to trade its first-round pick for an established veteran who “moves the needle.” The only exception to this is if Portland lands the first overall pick and selects Victor Wembanyama.
Pressure has been put on Portland’s front office to either build a contender around Dame or rebuild around its younger assets. But the 7-foot-2 unicorn is the only player in the draft capable of executing both options simultaneously.
Here’s how Portland’s offseason might play out if it ends up with the No. 1 overall pick and select Wembanyama.
The “Wembanyama Sweepstakes”
The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Tuesday, May 16, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Another term used for this year’s lottery is the “Wembanyama Sweepstakes.”
Victor Wembanyama is a 19-year-old from France who plays professionally for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92. He is a 7-foot-2 generational prospect widely expected to be the first overall pick.
One bright spot from the Trail Blazers’ disappointing 33-49 season is that they now have the fifth-best lottery odds. That equates to a 10.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick.
The possibility of ending up with a prospect like Wembanyama likely played a considerable role in the Blazers’ decision to shut down Damian Lillard and tank at the end of the season. It’s a draft loaded with potential star talent at the top.
May 16 will be a pivotal moment for Blazers fans and the organization. Former Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy will represent the team at the lottery. Roy was Portland’s lottery rep last time the franchise landed the No. 1 overall pick – they had the sixth-best odds that year.
The Blazers haven’t had much luck as a franchise. They’ve dealt with many unfortunate injuries to star players throughout the years, including Roy. Also, Lillard has been incredibly loyal to the organization and deserves to get rewarded with some good fortune.
It’s time the “Basketball Gods” decide to be on Portland’s side.