While Charlotte’s pick at No. 2 represents the first pivot point of the 2023 NBA draft, the Trail Blazers‘ decision at No. 3 is arguably even more interesting. That pick is a valuable one in a draft considered to have a consensus top three prospects, but Portland is eager to build a contender around Damian Lillard in the short term and may be more inclined to trade the choice.
In the view of Jason Quick of The Athletic, the Trail Blazers’ only real option – if they’re serious about keeping Lillard and building a winner around him – is to trade the pick. But ESPN’s Jonathan Givony isn’t sure Portland will take that route, suggesting during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast that he believes the Blazers will hang onto the selection.
“I don’t see them trading it either, honestly,” Givony said, per RealGM. “I think they would be very happy with Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson. “I also think they’re going to kick the tires on the Thompson twins and Cam Whitmore. I think this is going to be a process here where they’re looking at a lot of different options.”
If the Blazers do shop the pick, the expectation is that they’ll be targeting two-way impact players, a league source tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. As Johnson observes, Lillard has strong relationships with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, but neither of those offensive-minded Bulls wings really qualifies as a two-way dynamo.
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Thunder wing Kenrich Williams underwent a follow-up procedure on Tuesday to remove hardware that was inserted during his March wrist surgery, the team announced. According to Thunder, Williams’ rehab process is still on the same timeline, and he remains on track to be ready for the start of the 2023/24 season.
- Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, who sustained an eye injury during the team’s first-round playoff series, underwent surgery on Wednesday to address the issue, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North. While there’s no official timeline for Anderson’s recovery, there’s no indication he won’t be ready for training camp.
- Tony Jones of The Athletic sketches out an offseason to-do list for the Jazz, including identifying a point guard, resolving Jordan Clarkson‘s free agency, and comprehensively investigating what trade opportunities might be out there for them.