Trail Blazers land No. 3 overall pick in NBA Draft Lottery


It can be fun to dream.

But at 5:25 p.m. Pacific, the dreams of all of Rip City for the No. 1 overall pick – and Victor Wembanyama – agonizingly gave way to reality.

The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. The Blazers — who entered the night with the fifth-best odds of getting the top spot at 10.5 percent — got the third overall selection.

The lottery order went as predicted by the numbers, until top-three favorite Detroit fell all the way down to the fifth overall pick. That gave Portland a chance to move into the top four, which it did, eventually landing at No. 3.

What’s next? Scoot Henderson? Ausar or Amen Thompson? Alabama’s Brandon Miller?

Not likely.

Damian Lillard has said on multiple occasions his urgency to be in a position to win a championship in Portland. That his championship window is not conducive with another draft selection of a young, unproven prospect. 

Had that prospect been Victor Wembanyama, of course, Dame’s attitude would have presumably changed.

In a non-Wemby world, the Blazers have to pivot. Hopefully, not in the “high-velocity-pivot” manner pitched by general manager Joe Cronin last season that ended with a second-consecutive tank.

Five weeks will pass before draft night on June 22nd. In that time, the conversation in Portland becomes what to do with that no. 3 overall pick. Keep it, and risk Lillard’s ire? Keep it, trade Lillard for more draft capital, and begin the rebuild? Or trade it for immediate, established, win-now help on the roster that can at least put the Blazers in position to contend for a top seed in the Western Conference?

The latter seems most likely. The way Portland gets there is anyone’s guess.

None of those options match the elusive elation of what could have been…

Congratulations, Greg Popovich.

As for the rest of us in Rip City, here comes another summertime of the unknown.