The Portland Trail Blazers moved up to third overall in the draft lottery, but they now face a difficult decision. Victor Wembanyama is headed to San Antonio as the number one overall pick. Most consider the next tier to be Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson in some order. Portland could take one of those two exceptional talents or trade the pick for win-now help.
They may have to deal the selection to keep Damian Lillard. The 32-year-old franchise GOAT wants to stay in Portland, but only if the Blazers are contending. The lottery changed things, but even Miller and Henderson are not going to become stars immediately. Can they afford to wait for them to develop?
Trading the third overall pick seems like a no-brainer if it means keeping Lillard, but doing so could hurt the franchise for the next two decades. It is not an easy choice, but Portland needs to make the right decision if they want to avoid a long and painful rebuild.
Ways Portland Trail Blazers trading 3rd pick in 2023 NBA Draft would come back to haunt them
5. Not enough to land a superstar
The number three pick in the draft certainly has trade value, but what can they get in return? It may net them a fringe All-Star like Lauri Markkanen or Jarrett Allen. Portland could get a DeMar DeRozan-type, who is elite but already in his mid-30s. That gives the Blazers about three years to contend before Lillard starts to decline.
The Trail Blazers could try to package the pick with additional talent to take a bigger swing, but Portland just missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Can they afford to have less depth and still make a push?
The Blazers’ path to getting a superstar is selecting one with the third overall pick and waiting for him to blossom. It could take a few years, but that is how they could acquire one.