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Portland entered with the sixth best odds at the No. 1 pick; walk away by moving down one spot to No. 7.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Blazers' Damian Lillard against the Chicago Bulls.

The ping pong balls have fallen on the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery and the Portland Trail Blazers are walking away with the No. 7 pick. Orlando won the lottery and will pick No. 1 overall.

Represented by star guard Damian Lillard, quite a bit of hope was riding on where the Blazers would end up for the draft with the team looking to get back into contention quickly with Lillard still in his prime.

Portland entered the draft in the No. 6 spot with a 9% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick and a 37.2% chance of moving into the top four. There was an 8.6% chance of staying put at six and a 54.1% chance of moving back.

Specifically, Portland had a 29.8% chance of No. 7, the pick with the highest odds going into the lottery.

The whole draft order goes: Orlando, Oklahoma City, Houston, Sacramento, Detroit, Indiana, Portland, New Orleans (from the Lakers), San Antonio, Washington, New York, Oklahoma City (from the Clippers), Charlotte and Cleveland.

The more likely scenario of staying put or moving back one or two spots has occurred for Portland, which on the surface isn't too exciting.

This is only the second time Portland has moved back in the draft order at the lottery, the only other time coming in 2006 when the Blazers entered with the best odds for No. 1 as the worst team in the league and ended up moving back to No. 4.

The 2022 draft contains a pretty unanimous top three of talent, all forwards, in Jabari Smith from Auburn, Paolo Banchero from Duke and Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga, who is 7 feet tall but whose skill set is more like that of a traditional forward.

All three fill a large need at the forward spots for Portland, but it seems unlikely the Blazers would get any of the trio if the pick didn't move into at least the top four.

Portland has some guard depth in Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart and guys like Nassir Little and Justise Winslow, who can play both forward and guard. But that leaves a lack of size the Blazers desperately need.

Now sitting at No. 7, the hopes of grabbing any of those three projected top forwards outright seems like a long shot.

However, Portland has been plenty busy when it comes to trades around the draft. Lillard was acquired thanks to a midseason trade with the New Jersey Nets in 2012 that turned into the No. 6 pick.

LaMarcus Aldridge, the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft, was acquired from the Chicago Bulls. And that same night, Portland made two deals to bring Brandon Roy to the Rose City.

Of course, there are other talented forwards after the three mentioned above -- players like Keegan Murray from Iowa, AJ Griffin from Duke, Shaedon Sharpe from Kentucky, Tari Eason from LSU and plenty of others.

However, those names seem more like players who will need some time to develop, and the Blazers want to win now.

Being in the No. 7 spot, the Blazers could be looking to move back in a trade for more veteran options, as General Manager Joe Cronin has said veterans help teams win more than an unproven rookie.

Portland could be in the trade market over the next month with that No. 7 pick. And if they can't find a suitor, look for some of the mid-tier forwards at this spot for the Blazers.

Along with the No. 7 pick, Portland also has the No. 36 pick coming in the second round and also has the No. 59 pick from the Memphis Grizzlies.

This week in Chicago is also the NBA Combine, which will end on May 22 and features plenty of the top projected players.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.


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