The Portland Trail Blazers fortunes took an interesting turn in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery when they landed the third overall pick, despite having the fifth-best odds. This unexpected outcome has significant implications for the team’s offseason plans, requiring the front office to reassess its strategy in three key areas.
Let’s explore how this fortunate twist has reshaped the Trail Blazers’ approach.
Blazers have a heightened need to re-sign Jerami Grant
The Blazers narrowly missed out on the opportunity to select Victor Wembanyama, a generational prospect widely regarded as a lock for the first overall pick. Wembanyama’s projected NBA position as a power forward would have potentially allowed the Blazers to let go of Jerami Grant, who is set to become a free agent.
However, with their position now at third, securing Wembanyama is no longer likely. Consequently, the need to retain Grant becomes even more critical for the Trail Blazers’ roster stability and continued success.
Capitalizing on draft capital for a superstar
Although missing out on Wembanyama is disappointing, the Blazers still possess valuable draft capital that can be utilized to acquire a superstar alongside Damian Lillard.
With the third overall pick, they have the opportunity to select either Alabama forward Brandon Miller or NBA G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson. Both prospects bring immense potential and offer enticing skill sets.
Henderson, often hailed as one of the best guard prospects in years, draws comparisons to a blend of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook in their primes. The presence of such talent at the third pick provides the Blazers with an avenue to explore potential trades to bring in an established star player.
Brandon Miller: The small forward solution?
In the event that a suitable trade partner fails to materialize, Miller may emerge as the answer to the Blazers’ small forward conundrum. A 6-foot-9 interchangeable forward with a lanky frame, Miller possesses excellent length and athleticism.
His scoring arsenal is impressive, as he led all freshman with 18.8 points per game, and he showcases a sniper-like ability from beyond the arc, shooting an impressive 44 percent on seven attempts per game. Drawing comparisons to Paul George, Miller’s size on the perimeter allows him to shoot over many defenders, while his versatility permits him to excel as either a small forward or as a small-ball power forward.
Additionally, Miller’s competitiveness on defense, shot-blocking instincts, and rebounding skills further enhance his value to the team.
Portland’s unexpected jump to No. 3 in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery has forced it to readjust its offseason plans. While missing out on Wembanyama may require the Blazers to prioritize re-signing Grant, the draft capital acquired presents an opportunity to pursue a superstar alongside Lillard or add a promising young talent.
In the absence of a favorable trade, Miller’s draft profile suggests he could be the small forward solution the Blazers have been seeking.
The new circumstances demand careful evaluation and decision-making, but the Blazers find themselves in an intriguing position as they look to strengthen their roster and make a splash in the upcoming season.