The Blazers weren’t lucky enough to get the No. 1 pick, which would have given Portland the opportunity to draft a generational talent in Victor Wembanyama, a 7-foot-3 phenom from France hailed as one of the most talented prospects in NBA history.
But it was still a positive development, a move up into the Top 3, which gives the Blazers the choice between drafting one of the other top prospects in the draft — G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Alabama forward Brandon Miller are the other players projected to be drafted among the first three selections — or using the pick, which has tremendous trade value, in a deal to bring a star player to Portland to pair with Damian Lillard, who has been vocal about wanting an improved roster that can compete for an NBA championship.
Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin told reporters that moving up to No. 3 was a “big win” for the franchise.
“[The third pick] is significant,” he said. “There’s going to be some really good players at three that could be great for us or somebody else, depending on how we approach this draft.”
Portland finished with the fifth-worst record in the NBA last season and came into the night with a 10.5% chance of landing the No. 1 pick, the fifth-best odds among the 14 lottery teams. Portland had a 42.1% chance of moving into the Top 4, which they did.
The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA draft lottery and the No. 1 overall pick. The Charlotte Hornets will pick second overall, the Houston Rockets fell to fourth and the Detroit Pistons slipped to fifth. Here’s a look at the draft order after Tuesday’s lottery drawing:
- San Antonio Spurs
- Charlotte Hornets
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Houston Rockets
- Detroit Pistons
- Orlando Magic
- Indiana Pacers
- Washington Wizards
- Utah Jazz
- Dallas Mavericks
- Orlando Magic
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Toronto Raptors
- New Orleans Pelicans
The NBA draft is Thursday, June 22 and free agency begins Friday, June 30.
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