3 Best Portland Trail Blazers Draft Picks

min read
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers during a shootaround in November 2018.
(Wikimedia Commons/All-Pro Reels)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Oct 05, 2023, 7:35 PM
  • Here’s a list of the best Portland Trail Blazers picks in franchise history.
  • Bill Walton leads the list of players Portland selected through the draft.
  • Other Trail Blazers players included in the list are Clyde Drexler and Damian Lillard.

The Portland Trail Blazers had a tough start in the NBA by missing the playoffs in their first six seasons since joining the league in 1970 as an expansion team. But since winning the title in 1977, they have only missed the postseason 10 times.

A big part of this sustained success was the players they selected in the NBA Draft, as they boosted their NBA championship odds significantly. Thanks to these players, Portland was excluded from the list of NBA teams that have never won a championship. Three superstars stood out among the hundreds of franchise picks in their team history.

Bill Walton

In 1974, the Trail Blazers’ fate was forever changed when they drafted Bill Walton as their first overall pick. Walton was the first legitimate big man with excellent passing ability, packaged with his elite scoring and rebounding skills. In his rookie year, the UCLA standout averaged a double-double of 12.8 points and 12.6 rebounds with 4.8 assists and 2.7 blocks.

After that stellar first season in the league, the 6-foot-10 center upped his game in the next three seasons as he led Portland to their first NBA title in 1977, where he also bagged the Finals MVP honors. Following that championship run, Walton captured the league MVP award in 1978 after an incredible number of 18.9 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his promising career.

Clyde Drexler

Following the Bill Walton era, Clyde Drexler was Portland’s next bona fide superstar. He was selected as the 14th overall pick in 1983. Drexler started his career off the bench and only became a full-time starter in his fourth season in 1986-87. It was also the 6-foot-7 shooting guard’s breakout season, as he averaged 21.7 points, 6.9 assists, and 6.3 rebounds.

After that, he became the team’s go-to guy on the offensive end and a perennial NBA All-Star. Drexler represented the Blazers in eight All-Star games and was a 1992 All-NBA 1st Team member. Before being dealt to the Houston Rockets in 1995, Drexler left his mark on the Portland franchise by averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 867 games.

Damian Lillard

With all due respect to Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard completes this list of the three best Portland Trail Blazers draft picks because he brought back the excitement to the fanbase through his clutch shots and unbelievable range. He was drafted in 2012 as the sixth overall pick, averaging 19.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.1 rebounds to bag the Rookie of the Year award in 2013.

“Dame Dolla” spearheaded Portland’s eight playoff campaigns from 2014 to 2021, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2019. The 6-foot-2 point guard was selected to seven All-Star games as a member of the Blazers and was a one-time member of the All-NBA 1st Team in 2018. Lillard was traded in September 2023 and is now part of the Milwaukee Bucks’ biggest trades.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.