Blazers’ 3 biggest needs entering 2022 NBA Draft

The Portland Trail Blazers are dangerously close to missing their championship window. Dame Lillard is now 31 and has missed all but 29 games this season through injury. The organization chose to use it as a rebuilding year and handed over the reigns to Anfernee Simons. The 27-55 record left the franchise out of the postseason and gave them 7th pick in the draft. While the lottery may not have fallen in their direction, Portland also holds the 36th and 57th picks.

The Trail Blazers will be looking for a drastic turnaround this year as they hope to maximize Dame Lillard’s remaining prime. The draft may not provide them with the top-end talent they were hoping for, but there is still an opportunity to fill some needs. Here are the biggest areas to target with the selection.

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The 3 biggest needs of Blazers entering the 2022 NBA Draft

star potential

As the Trail Blazers continued to drop losses this year, it was clear they were looking for a top draft pick. The odds were not in their favor and Portland received the 7th pick in the draft. It was clear from Dame Lillard’s reaction that this wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for.

Regardless, the team must grapple with the cards dealt and capitalize on them. While the first three picks are reasonably clear, there’s more in the air for the next few choices. The Trail Blazers are looking for another star and the 7th pick shouldn’t change that. Portland has done well to place outside of the top five and must hope it stays that way. Dame Lillard was 6th overall and CJ McCollum was selected 10th.

Look for the Trail Blazers to take the player they believe has the most potential. Whether this is a guy who can help the team now, a chunk of the franchise’s future in the post-Lillard era, or an eventual trade-in piece for the missing player; The logic must remain the same. Keep an eye on Shaedon Sharpe and Bennedict Mathurin if they decide to swing for the fence, though Portland will certainly be hoping for a top prospect to drop.

Striker who can score

As great as Dame Lillard is, he cannot carry an offensive load alone. Ever since the days of LaMarcus Aldridge, Lillard has had a dependable big man to count on when he scores. While the likes of Nic Batum and Carmelo Anthony came and went, there was no reliable option to help the team. CJ McCollum is a very good player who has worked well with Lillard, but their similar playstyle and position was repetitive at times. Anfernee Simons has had an impressive year but similar criticism can be made.

The best way to open up Lillard’s game would be to provide him with a forward who can reliably score. The Trail Blazers lacked shot generation on the list, and adding a forward with that ability would go a long way in opening things up. This isn’t the easiest skill set, but the Trail Blazers must be on the hunt.

Defensive big man

Looking ahead to next season’s roster, the Trail Blazers are severely lacking in size. Greg Brown is the only Big Man player set to return next season. While Portland likely has some free-agent goals in mind, there are plenty of options in the draft. This class of rookies includes several notable big men who fit into the modern NBA, including some with second-round projections.

Christian Koloko, Walker Kessler and Trevion Williams are three names to keep an eye on. Koloko is particularly appealing as he averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in a talented Arizona team this season. While they might not have as much immediate impact as Portland hopes, each of these guys could potentially play minutes of rotation. Expect the Trail Blazers to have their eye on a big man with the later picks.

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