Trail Blazers Season Comes To An End, So What’s Next?


The Trail Blazers season has finally come to an end. Portland did a great job tanking for the third consecutive season by losing 15 of their final 17 games and ended up tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the third worst record in the league. What that means is the NBA will have an untelevised meeting where it will be determined who, out of the Blazers and Hornets, will have the third best odds and fourth best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery. That matters, because what slot you have determines the lowest you pick can have. If the Blazers get the third best odds, the lowest the Blazers will pick in the draft is No. 7. If the Blazers get the fourth best odds. The lowest they can pick is No. 8.

In a normal year the three worst teams all share the same odds for the No. 1 overall pick. But since the Blazers and Hornets tied for third, the Pistons and Wizards will both have a 14% chance at the No. 1 pick while the Blazers and Hornets will fight it out for third. The team who is awarded the No. 3 pick will have a 13.3% chance at the No. 1 pick. While the No. 4 pick will have a 13.2% chance at No. 1.

A very bad record for this season could end up paying great dividends in the draft lottery.

The Blazers are saying the right things in their end of season press conferences. Guard Anfernee Simons, who averaged 22.6 points and 5.5 assists per game said, “We don’t want to have another year like this. My sixth year is done now, going into year seven, I want to have the opportunity to win.”

It sounds great but the Blazers are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make. Head coach Chauncey Billups who just finished his third season, and has a 81-165 record, even acknowledged the team has tough decisions.

“Joe does a really good job of letting me coach during the season and not really talking about the future.” Billups added, “Those are going to be some really important conversations.”

Center DeAndre Ayton was a bright spot the second half of the season. Ayton averaged 20 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in his final 30 games of the season while shooting just under 59% and being a leader on the court. Ayton agrees that next season needs to be about winning.

“This was the hope year. Next year won’t be any hope. It’ll just be us knowing where we’re planning on going. Where our hard work is going to go. And that’s winning games leading to the playoffs.”

General Manager Joe Cronin talked about the season and moving forward. Cronin agrees that they want to compete and win, but it’s his job to add talent to the roster and make this team more talented.

“There’s skill sets we need to add. We need more shooters, we’ve got to open up the floor for guys, we need more playmakers, we need more defenders, there’s a lot of things that we need so we’re going to continue to evaluate how do we supplement the existing group we have, but at the same time not ignoring we’re not good enough yet. We don’t have enough talent. We’ve got to keep boosting our talent base. And it might be our most important thing we do this summer is keep adding to this talent base.”

Whatever the path going forward is, it is on Joe Cronin to bring in better talent heading into next season.