The Portland Trail Blazers are a team to watch ahead of Thursday night's 2022 NBA Draft. They possess the No. 7 overall pick but are actively looking to trade it for a veteran who could help them win now. One potential target is Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, according to Chris Haynes.
After Damian Lillard underwent abdominal surgery last season, the Blazers went full tank mode for the first time in nearly a decade. They traded almost every notable player on the roster, including CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Robert Covington and Norman Powell, and went 2-21 to close the season.
But despite making all of those moves, the Blazers were never planning on a long-term rebuild. Not with Lillard still around and heading towards the end of his prime. They saw the writing on the wall and knew that even with a healthy Lillard, the old roster wasn't good enough to contend in the Western Conference. Instead, they hope to re-tool around Lillard and compete again right away. Some better lottery luck would have helped in that regard, but the No. 7 pick should still command a solid return.
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Whether they can actually get Anunoby remains to be seen -- they may have to offer more than just the No. 7 pick -- but there have been rumors that the forward hasn't always been thrilled with his role in Toronto, and the Raptors might be willing to part with him given his injury history and their plethora of wings.
If the Blazers can manage to pull off a deal for Anunoby, it would be a great bit of business. Anunoby is a terrific defender and would be one of the best players the Blazers have had on that side of the ball in recent memory. He would single-handedly improve what has been a porous defense over the years. On offense, he's blossomed into a reliable 3-point shooter and averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game last season.
The only real knock on Anunoby is that he can't stay on the court. He's played 91 games the last two seasons combined and has only reached the 70-game mark once in his career. But given his age and talent, it would be well worth the risk if they can pry him away from the Raptors.