Grade the trade: New Blazers Lillard proposal viewed as ‘certainly a risk’

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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A Damian Lillard-Zion Williamson trade would be a win for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Portland would get high marks if this deal were to come to fruition

The allure of draft picks – especially ones that won’t convey for a handful of years, if not more – is often more valuable than the picks themselves. Fan bases can hope those eventually become top-10, maybe even top-5, selections.

The truth is, they often don’t. Proven commodities are more sensible than possible lottery tickets.

Is Zion a proven commodity? Yes and no. When healthy, he’s certainly shown to be an all-NBA-level superstar. At the same time, he’s only played 114 games in four seasons. At the very least, that makes him a questionable commodity – hence Marks commenting on the risk involved for Portland.

Daniels and Lewis Jr. are in the same vein as Williamson, only for different reasons. Daniels is the current en vogue point guard archetype; he’s 6-foot-6 with a versatile offensive skill set and the ability to guard multiple positions defensively, but has a shaky jump shot. Lewis Jr. is a scoring point guard with the speed and athleticism to get downhill and attack defenses. He showed a decent 3-point shot in college at Alabama.

Daniels has 59 NBA games under his belt with averages of 3.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 42 percent shooting and 31 percent shooting from three.

Lewis Jr. has played 103 games across his three NBA seasons, averaging 4.8 points on 40 percent shooting and 32 percent shooting from three.

The Bucks’ 2027 first-rounder, if it indeed comes unprotected, could be a significant asset for the Blazers, depending on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status in four years. If The Greek Freak is playing elsewhere, Jrue Holiday and Kris Middleton will likely be out the door as well as older players who wouldn’t be good enough to carry a win-now team.

Again, a questionable commodity – but still less questionable than first-round picks coming from Miami in 2028 and 2030, and all three of Zion, Daniels and Lewis Jr. have more upside than Jaime Jaquez, who could be a young player involved in any Portland-Miami deal. Their upside is arguably higher than that of Nikola Jovic, as well.

Williamson’s ceiling is certainly higher than anything the Blazers could get in any other Lillard trade.

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Trade grade: A-