3 Instant reactions to Trail Blazers 2023 NBA Draft Lottery results

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers entered the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery with the fifth-best odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick and uber-prospect Victor Wembanyama. Their pick was guaranteed to land somewhere inside the top nine.

Things went chalk according to the odds until, actually, the Blazers moved from pick No. 5 into the top four. Then from pick No. 4 into the top three.

And that’s where the dream ended. The franchise will officially have the third overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Is it ideal? Obviously not. Could it have been worse? Certainly.

3 Instant reactions to Trail Blazers lottery results

1. What does the third pick mean for the rest of Portland’s offseason?

Well, No. 3 is a curious place to land for any franchise in what’s presumed to be a three-player draft.

Wembanyama, G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, and Alabama forward Brandon Miller are the consensus top prospects in this draft class. After that, there’s a dropoff to players like Villanova’s Cam Whitmore and Overtime Elite twins Amen and Ausar Thompson.

The Blazers now have a valuable pick – whether they decide to keep it or trade it – that other teams will covet.

2. What does this mean for Damian Lillard?

Only time will tell at this point, but what Lillard said shortly after the 2022-23 season ended should provide at least some sort of glimpse into the incredibly significant decision facing the franchise.

"“I don’t have much of an appetite for bringing in guys two and three years away from really going after it,” Lillard said. “This is not a secret. I want a chance to go for it. And if the route is to do that, then that’s not my route.”"

If we’re taking Dame’s comment at face value, the Blazers now have one of two options: trade Lillard, draft Henderson or Miller (or another prospect) and let the 19-year-olds – Shaedon Sharpe included – roll; or package that No. 3 pick in a trade to bring another superstar to Portland to help Lillard push for a championship.

3. What value would the No. 3 pick have in a potential trade?

This pick has significant value. A package featuring the No. 3 pick and Simons, for example, is a meaningful starting point in pursuing a player like Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, who’s made two All-NBA teams.

This pick is a legitimate asset for Portland General Manager Joe Cronin, whether he decides to put this selection in a trade or keep it to start a franchise rebuild.

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