The Portland Trail Blazers drew the 7th position in the 2022 NBA Lottery tonight, finishing one step below their organic position of 6th. After earning a 27-55 record in the regular season and missing the playoffs, the team will sit in middling lottery position in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Recently-promoted General Manager Joe Cronin offered comments on the results to Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian. Fentress credits Cronin with the following statements:
I caught up with Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin following the draft lottery disappointment.
He remained positive after what he called a ‘mini-gut punch’ after falling to No. 7.
“We’ve got work to do,” he said.
As the season concluded, Portland had the potential for a second lottery pick, courtesy of the New Orleans Pelicans. Portland and New Orleans consummated a mid-season deal, sending guard CJ McCollum and forward Larry Nance, Jr. to the Pelicans in exchange for swingman Josh Hart and a first-round pick in this year’s draft. The pick was protected, only conveying if it fell between 5-14 in the draft order. The Pelicans eventually progressed through the NBA’s play-in tournament, earning the 8th seed and a first-round date with the Phoenix Suns. Once they made the post-season, New Orleans’ pick was guaranteed to rank no better than 15th, outside of the Blazers’ grasp. Portland is in line for a protected 2025 first-rounder from the Milwaukee Bucks instead, but that doesn’t address their needs this year.
Fentress also quoted Cronin on this matter, though it’s unclear whether the statement came tonight or from last month:
“We took a calculated risk and it didn’t pan out. I think it was good we were aggressive. Obviously, we’d love to have had the pick but we’ll recover and move forward. It doesn’t change our mentality.”
The Blazers can keep the pick for themselves or, as Blazer’s Edge Managing Editor Dave Deckard explains, use it in trade for an established player.