In the final year of the “coin flip” era, the Blazers lost to the Houston Rockets in 1984 for the rights to draft Hakeem Olajuwon. Portland eventually settled with Sam Bowie in a move that is still talked about nearly four decades later.
Despite not taking Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft, the Blazers enjoyed two decades of postseason appearances before eventually slipping to the lottery in 2004, which was under a new “weighted” format.
The Blazers had miniscule odds to win the lottery, landing in 13th to take point guard Sebastian Telfair.
In 2005, the Blazers were slated to pick No. 4, but the ping-pong balls moved Portland up a spot. The team ultimately took Deron Williams to trade him to the Utah Jazz.
In 2006, the Blazers struggled again and had the worst record in the NBA. The team landed the top odds to get the No. 1 pick, but ended up at No. 4. The team drafted Tyrus Thomas, but traded him to the Chicago Bulls to get LaMarcus Aldridge, a deal that Portland won in hindsight.
The next year, Portland held the 7th-best odds to get the top pick, but the ping-pong balls were in its favor and the team grabbed the No. 1 selection to take Greg Oden.
In 2008, the team was back to .500, but still made an appearance at the lottery. The team took Brandon Rush with the No. 13 pick and traded him on draft night to the Indiana Pacers.
In 2012-13, the team returned to the lottery to pick Meyers Leonard and C.J. McCollum. Damian Lillard was also drafted, but he technically is considered to be selected by the Brooklyn Nets, who held the No. 6 pick in 2012.
The Blazers then went nearly a decade without a lottery appearance as the team enjoyed several trips to the playoffs. However, in 2022, the Blazers returned to the lottery after several injuries to take Shaedon Sharpe.
Now, the Blazers have their best odds to land the top pick in 17 years and will be represented by Brandon Roy, who was there when Portland landed the top pick in 2007, and there’s hope that a generational superstar in Victor Wembanyama will soon call Rip City home.