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Blazers Need ‘Instant-Impact Ability’ in NBA Draft

The Portland Trail Blazers have a very broad need going into this year’s NBA Draft.

2023 NBA Draft Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers are less than a month away from the NBA Draft, one that should be a crucial night for the franchise.

Currently tabbed with the No. 3 overall pick, the Blazers can take their highest-drafted rookie in 16 years, but they have been shopping the pick in order to acquire some more “win-now” talent to help Damian Lillard get closer to a championship.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has identified the Blazers’ biggest need as a player with “instant-impact ability.”

The Trail Blazers, who tanked their way through the stretch run of the past two seasons, should arguably be thinking long and hard about pivoting away from Damian Lillard (who turns 33 in July) and into a top-to-bottom rebuild. They aren’t—at least not publicly. Their hope, rather, is to find players who can help Lillard chase a championship as soon as next season.

“We’re a team that’s trying to win and trying to maximize Damian’s timeline,” Blazers general manager Joe Cronin told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer at the lottery. “This was an important night for us.”

However, Buckley says that doesn’t mean the Blazers have to trade the pick. Even though Lillard prefers a player with some experience behind him, that doesn’t mean Portland cannot find someone that helps Dame and the franchise as a whole move forward.

Portland doesn’t necessarily need to trade out of the No. 3 spot to find instant-impact talent, though that feels like the most likely route it will take. Still, if Alabama swingman Brandon Miller makes it that far, it’s conceivable the Blazers would pounce on him in hopes of shoring up their wing defense and hoping the 6’9” swingman could immediately translate his shot-making and creation to the big league.

There are several players who could certainly benefit the Blazers at No. 3 in the here and now as well as the future, including Miller. Selling Lillard on the idea may be difficult, especially given his recent public comments, because keeping the pick may ultimately be in the best interest in the overall health of the franchise.

That being said, Portland has continually committed to Lillard and his desire to win a championship, and that means bringing in some “instant-impact ability” to the Blazers by any means necessary.