After the 30-point loss to the Phoenix Suns, the direction of the Portland Trail Blazers feels more clear than it has in recent weeks, and looking at the rest of the season, Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin says that there is one question the Blazers are facing right now: “Where will their lottery picks end up?”
The Blazers made their intentions for the rest of the season clear when they traded veterans CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington for picks and young players at the trade deadline; they made them even clearer last week when they responded to a four-game winning streak by shutting down starting center Jusuf Nurkic for the next four weeks with plantar fasciitis. Damian Lillard all but said on Draymond Green’s podcast that he won’t be playing again this season after undergoing surgery in January to address an abdominal injury.
The Blazers are tanking, as they should be given they owe their pick to Chicago if it falls outside the lottery. But they also have a vested interest in New Orleans missing the playoffs, as they get their pick if it falls between Nos. 5 and 14 in the lottery.
Depending on how it shakes out, Portland could have two high picks to help reshape the roster and maximize the rest of Lillard’s prime.
It’s something to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season.
You can read the questions for other NBA teams here.