When the Portland Trail Blazers acquired the New Orleans’ Pelicans pick that had potential to land in the lottery for the upcoming draft, many fans wondered if the team could package that pick into a veteran and use the higher pick to draft a rookie.
At the time of the trade, the Pelicans were not projected to make the playoffs. But after a strong run at the end of the season, they qualified for the playoffs, leaving the Blazers only with their own pick.
Drafting two rookies was questionable, which is why trading the other pick for a veteran made sense. But with only one asset, what’s more important for the team: youth or experience?
The Blazers probably won’t net a pick as high as the one they are about to receive in the upcoming draft with Damian Lillard fully healthy, so it makes sense for the team to take advantage of the luck and draft a player with an incredibly high ceiling.
On the flip side, the pick could be use as an incredible trade chip, like Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant, that could make the team more competitive in the short term but questionable in the long run.
If you look at youth vs. experience, you’d probably lean more towards experience if you are trying to go for a title sooner.
But, a miss on this draft or trading the pick for just a chance to return to relevancy could set the franchise back years.
The Blazers have prioritized experience over youth during Lillard’s prime, but with a draft pick this high, it might be time to finally look towards a future beyond Dame. Not necessarily ditching Dame completely, but recognizing that the Lillard era can’t last forever.