After a good start to the regular season, it looked as though the Portland Trail Blazers would be headed to the playoffs. Of course, that didn’t happen. The team went just 13–23 in 2023 and missed the playoffs and play-in tournament altogether. That means they will be a lottery team, which is definitely a disappointment for the Blazers, especially superstar Damian Lillard.
He’s given a strong indication that he doesn’t want his team to rebuild, and that could force Portland to trade their draft pick in an attempt to win now. However, they will first have to wait until the May 16th NBA draft lottery to figure out where they will be selecting. The higher the selection, the better the trade asset.
But if they were to land the first overall pick, they would surely keep it and select 7’3 center Victor Wembanyama. What are the odds of that? Let’s take a look at the Portland Trail Blazers’ full draft odds.
Portland Trail Blazers’ full draft odds
1st pick: 10.5%
With a roughly 10.5% chance at each of the first four picks, Portland has 42.1% odds of moving up into the top four. That could be huge for the Blazers given the lack of consensus at the top of the draft aside from Wembanyama going first. For example, if Detroit picks second, they may take Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson.
Meanwhile, the Spurs, if they select third, would reportedly take Amen Thompson. That would mean that Portland would be in a position to take Henderson, a player who might be the first overall pick in another draft. All that is to say, moving up into the top four increases the probability of Portland getting a future star to pair with their current one. On the other hand, here are the Blazers remaining odds:
Barring the improbable, Portland won’t end up with the fifth or ninth pick. Then again, there is a 47.3% chance of the Blazers falling in the draft order to sixth or seventh. That would probably take them out of future star range while simultaneously hurting their ability to trade the pick for an all-star-caliber player. The sixth or seventh selection is still very good but not nearly as valuable as a top-four pick.
All in all, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Blazers on May 16th. A good night would have them move up and be in a prime position to draft a future star that could provide immediate help to Lillard. Or, they could fall back to sixth or seventh and see their best asset’s value drop. As a result, a lot of eyes will be on Portland during and following the draft lottery.