The Portland Trail Blazers had a wildly-interesting 2016-2017 season. At the All-Star break in mid-February, the Blazers sat with an unsightly 23-33 record, and frankly, the team appeared rudderless on the defensive end. From there, though, Portland was vastly improved, finishing with an 18-8 flourish (after adding Jusuf Nurkic to the mix) that was good enough to earn a place in the postseason.
A four-game sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors wasn’t necessarily ideal, but on the bright side, Portland is currently the only NBA team that holds three picks within the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. That should help to offset the rising cost of what, at least in some ways, is an ill-fitting roster, and it also helps that general manager Neil Olshey is a highly respected name in the business that has earned trust when it comes to operating the franchise from a personnel standpoint.
To that end, Olshey engaged in an interesting interview during the NBA Draft Combine on Friday, and it could help to shed some light on Portland’s immediate plans with their picks at No. 15, No. 20 and No. 26 overall. Jason Quick of CSN NW breaks down the transcript of the interview, where at one point Olshey was asked whether Blazers fans should expect to see three rookies on the roster when the 2017-2018 season begins.
“Look, we’ve been rebuilding the organization based on Damian Lillard’s timeline and we’ve been lucky enough to be a playoff team in both of those years. So, look, it’s whatever the best decision long term for the franchise is: If that’s three rookies, it’s three rookies. If that’s an aggregation of picks to go get an impact player, then that’s what it will be. We have a very aggressive owner, we are very lucky to have one that doesn’t shy away from a high payroll; he loves young talent and in a market like Portland, where we have been most successful, has been drafts and player development.”