The Portland Trail Blazers had bad luck entering the lottery room, and general manager Joe Cronin shares the same disappointment with the fan base.
Portland has only landed the seventh pick of the draft. Damian Lillard, who represented the franchise, wasn’t even able to hide his sadness at Tuesday’s lottery.
“Your heart’s racing and you’re watching, and it’s so quiet in there,” Cronin said, via Aaron Fentress of Oregon Live. “And then, with each card they pull, there’s a sigh of relief. And then when you get that one, it’s a mini-gut punch.”
The Blazers had a season of tanking upon the long absence of Lillard from his abdominal injury. To put themselves prepared and flexible enough heading to the offseason, they even traded their core pieces in the likes of C. J. McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington.
Sadly enough, the result didn’t go well on their part. The upcoming draft has a talented pool composed of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Jaden Ivey, and being just in the position for the seventh selection is such a devastating one.
Still, at the end of the day, the work still goes on for Cronin. The 2022-2023 season is a new opportunity for the club to rise from the ashes upon the ongoing leadership of their superstar captain Lillard.
“We’ll get through this week and get through the interviews and see the guys play, and get the medicals,” he said.
“We took a calculated risk and it didn’t pan out. I think it was good we were aggressive. Obviously, we’d love to have had the pick, but we’ll recover and move forward. It doesn’t change our mentality.”