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Steal a Player from an NBA Lottery Team

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If you could pick any player off of a non-playoff team to join the Trail Blazers for the post-season, who would it be?

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Unless utter disaster strikes, the Portland Trail Blazers will participate in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. The only questions at this point are how high of a bracket seed, and against whom? Not content with the status quo, the staff at The Ringer added another, speculative query today, resurrecting a fun chestnut: if you could add one player from an NBA-lottery-bound team to the roster for this year’s post-season run, who would it be?

The rules The Ringer folks used are simple: teams draft in standings order—personally, I would have done it in reverse order, but oh well—and can only draft players from non-playoff teams in their own conference. You only get to keep the player for the 2018 post-season. Once summer comes, they go back. Also cap considerations don’t matter.

In the Western Conference The Ringer had the Houston Rockets taking Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and the Golden State Warriors nabbing shooting guard Gary Harris from the Denver Nuggets. That would leave the Trail Blazers choosing from a buffet of players spread across the Lakers, Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies.

For Portland’s pick, The Ringer officially chose Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, loosely linked to Portland in past trade rumors, coveted because of his veteran experience and defensive prowess. Haley O’Shaughnessy explains:

Portland reportedly attempted to deal for Jordan before the trade deadline, but ultimately couldn’t work out a deal with the Clippers. DAJ is the ultimate complement to the force that is the Blazers backcourt, and he would be a dependable, go-to third option by playing the role he always has for L.A.: finishing around the rim. Jusuf Nurkic excelled during the Blazers’ 13-game win streak, but the 23-year-old can be too inconsistent.

While Jordan is a serviceable selection, he’d cause a shift in offensive philosophy if starting and he’d bump out blue-collar workhorse Ed Davis as a reserve. I’m not sure why the Blazers wouldn’t go with the more versatile—and still available, according to The Ringer—Nikola Jokic if they wanted a center. Or how about any of the exciting wings suiting up for Western Conference lottery teams? I could offer a half-dozen suggestions in that category alone, but that wouldn’t be as fun as throwing it to Blazer’s Edge readers. Let’s pretend this was a part of the official NBA system. You can have anybody in the conference not making the playoffs outside of Ingram and Harris. Who would you want to add to the Blazers to bolster their chances of going all the way? Comment below.