While teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and even Utah Jazz received (much) more attention, the Portland Trail Blazers finished with the third-best record in the Western Conference this season. Of course, things did not end well for Damian Lillard and company with a hideous playoff loss at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans but, in the same breath, it was a net-positive campaign for the club and there is some reason for optimism moving forward.
With that said, the Blazers won’t have anything approaching salary cap flexibility and the organization has a significant decision to make with Jusuf Nurkic entering restricted free agency. Portland would likely look to add another big man if Nurkic sneaks away, but the Blazers did select two pure bigs in the 2017 draft with Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, indicating they may have more faith in their replacement options than some outsiders would.
Regardless, the Blazers are in a spot at No. 24 overall in which they will likely aim for a combination of NBA readiness and some modicum of upside. It is tough to negotiate that paradox but here are five players that could make sense when Portland is on the clock on June 21.