The 2023 NBA Draft is just around the corner, and the Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in the fortunate position of holding the third overall pick after moving up from the projected fifth overall pick in the NBA lottery. With their star player, Damian Lillard, emphasizing the need for immediate veteran help, the Blazers face a critical decision.
"“Dame is on the record saying he doesn’t want to play with young players…He wants veteran help now. I’ve gone back and checked if Dame still feels that way and the answer I received was a forceful ‘yes.'” – Brian Windhorst, ESPN"
The Blazers have remained firm that they want to appease Lillard and put a contending team around him. Picking at No. 3 could be viewed as a rebuilding move and the opposite of what Dame wants.
This post will explore a bold trade scenario that could dramatically change the team’s outlook and highlight two other draft events that Blazers fans should be eagerly rooting for.
Blazers trade No. 3 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Zion Williamson
One potential trade that could make waves in the league involves the New Orleans Pelicans sending Zion Williamson to the Blazers in exchange for the third overall pick. Although the specifics of the trade would require additional assets or involve a third team, the acquisition of Zion would be a transformative move for Portland.
Williamson’s talent and potential are undeniable. At just 22 years old, he has already displayed All-Star-caliber skills when healthy and motivated. With his explosive athleticism, strength, and versatility, Williamson would give the Blazers a dynamic presence on both ends of the court.
Recent rumors regarding a strained relationship between Zion and the Pelicans have surfaced. This trade could present an opportunity for a fresh start for Williamson, removing him from the recent drama that made headlines and allowing him to thrive in a new environment.
It is worth noting that the Blazers and Pelicans have a positive relationship, which is evident from their previous trade involving CJ McCollum. Leveraging this rapport, the teams could work together to create a mutually beneficial deal that satisfies both parties’ needs.
A key factor to this trade is something Blazer fans should root for
For this proposed trade scenario to materialize, it is crucial that Scoot Henderson, a highly touted prospect, remains available for the Pelicans to select with the third overall pick. If the Charlotte Hornets become a threat by showing interest in Henderson with their second overall pick, the trade would not come to fruition.
(Whether it’s a smoke screen or not, recent reports state that Brandon Miller is expected to be Charlotte’s pick at No. 2.)
Trade or no trade, Blazer fans should root for more frontcourt depth
In addition to this bold trade, Blazers fans should also root for the team to secure solid frontcourt depth with their later picks. Even if the Blazers acquire Zion and/or re-sign Jerami Grant, bolstering the frontcourt remains a priority.
At pick No. 23, the draft board should ideally present opportunities for the Blazers to strengthen their interior defense and depth.
One prospect who fits this description is Noah Clowney, a talented forward from Alabama. Clowney’s length and athletic ability would provide an immediate boost to Portland’s frontcourt. His defensive prowess and ability to impact the game around the rim would complement the Blazers’ offensive firepower, making him an enticing choice for the team’s needs.
As the 2023 NBA Draft approaches, Blazers fans find themselves in a state of anticipation and hope. With the third overall pick, a bold trade for Zion could transform the team’s fortunes and appease Lillard’s desire for immediate veteran help.
Additionally, fans should keep an eye on the availability of Scoot and hope for the acquisition of solid frontcourt depth at pick No. 23.
The draft represents a crucial opportunity for the Blazers to build a contending team around their star player, and these events could shape the franchise’s trajectory for years to come.