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The Portland Trail Blazers hold the 7th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. That position leaves them in a “neither fish nor fowl” position. It’s a mid-lottery pick, too high to let pass without getting serious help from it. On the other hand, it’s a mid-lottery pick, too low to guarantee that immediate—or even future—help is in the offing.

In this environment, suggestions abound for alternative uses. One of them is the subject of today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag.

Dave,

After missing out on the Pelican’s pick and ending up with the 7th pick, why don’t the blazers trade back and acquire multiple 1st rounders, so they can use one to go get Grant & keep one to draft or trade for another player, rather than just trading the 7th pick to get grant, which seems too high. I know they might be missing out on future talents like Duren, Griffin, & Mathurin, but if they want to win now like they’ve said, doesn’t it make sense? Teams like San Antonio and Charlotte have multiple picks behind the blazers. If they trade back, depending on the team, it seems like they can still get value with the later pick, while still doing a trade for grant? If you do the trade bleacher report suggested for Grant with Keon, drew, & a 1st rounder, you can replace Keon with that extra pick. Thoughts?

Thanks,

Tony

If you listened to the latest Dave and Dia podcast with special guests Steve Dewald and Danny Marang, you heard that this was among the buffet of possibilities for Portland, and probably one of the stronger. Both our special experts and I agreed that trading down was the second most likely move behind trading away the pick altogether.

There’s little doubt that the Blazers would have a better selection at 7 than in the mid-teens. Obviously, they could select anybody that would be available later, also getting a shot at one of the marginally-upper-tier talents in this draft class.

BUT…I’ve also described the 7th pick as “no man’s land” this year. Seven names have been hot in pre-draft selection, three white-hot, four bubbling but not boiling. Six of those would presumably be gone before Portland made their selection. Good News: They’d get one of the seven. Bad News: They have no control over which, no choice over position or skill set, and they’d probably be getting the least attractive of the bunch.

There’s always a possibility that the Sacramento Kings go Sacramento while picking ahead of the Blazers at 4. (They’re not known for their draft strategy.) That might leave a more attractive player for Portland, maybe two of them if the Kings get really weird. Failing some kind of miracle, though, the player the Blazers are going to get picking 7th won’t be able to address all their current needs and won’t have the kind of limitless upside that they could bank their future on.

Given that, a chance to pick up two assets—a modest veteran and a not-much-worse prospect—may be more attractive than burning that higher pick on a single player.

However, I still judge it more likely that the Blazers try to leverage that pick into a veteran to really help them this season. Trading out is still the superior choice to trading down if they can get their guy. One nearly-guaranteed asset is better than two mediocre ones, given the shape Portland is in. Trading down should be consider the “best of the rest” scenario, not the first choice.

How about you, Dear Readers? Would you consider trading down a viable option? If so, do you have specific targets? Register your opinion in the comments!

Thanks for the question, as well. You can send yours in to blazersub@gmail.com and we’ll keep cranking through them this summer!

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