How Scoot Henderson vs. Brandon Miller could affect Damian Lillard's future with Trail Blazers
How Scoot Henderson vs. Brandon Miller could affect Damian Lillard's future with Trail Blazers
Will Trail Blazers trade No. 3 pick to continue building around Damian Lillard?

The Spurs won the Victor Wembanyama Sweepstakes, so the discussion around the 2023 NBA Draft now shifts to the teams selecting behind San Antonio.The most pressure falls on the Hornets, who have a major decision to make with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. While G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson had long been seen as the clear consolation prize to Wembanyama, Alabama forward Brandon Miller challenged that notion with a strong freshman season.MORE: The case for the Hornets' No. 2 pick: Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller?Once Charlotte makes its decision, the pressure transitions to the Trail Blazers at No. 3 overall.Portland jumped up one spot from its projected No. 4 overall pick, and that luck of the draw could shape the near future of the franchise.How Scoot Henderson vs. Brandon Miller could affect Damian Lillard's future with Trail BlazersOnce the Hornets choose between Henderson and Miller, the Trail Blazers will have two very strong options available. They can either select the best available prospect, or they can trade a highly coveted No. 3 pick in hopes of a quick rebuild around Lillard.Why the Trail Blazers could trade the No. 3 pickThe day after the NBA Draft Lottery, Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes reported, "Portland, in an effort to continue building a contending roster around its star Damian Lillard, is expected to make the pick available for a trade."He added that Lillard "has communicated to the front office of his desire to bring in veteran players to facilitate a fleet turnaround from the two previous seasons of underachieving," and Haynes is known for his close relationship with the Trail Blazers' all-time leading scorer.Portland General Manager Joe Cronin also echoed a willingness to move off the pick to build around Lillard."[The third pick] is significant," Cronin said, according to Haynes. "There's going to be some really good players at three that could be great for us or somebody else, depending on how we approach this draft."MORE: Post-Lottery 2023 NBA Mock Draft: Who will go No. 2 behind Wembanyama?There isn't a rebuilding team in the league that wouldn't love to acquire the talents of Miller or Henderson. Both have the ceiling of a multi-time All-Star.If the Trail Blazers did decide to trade the pick, the return would be a massive haul for either prospect who would compete for the No. 1 overall selection in any other draft that doesn't include arguably the greatest prospect of all time.If Portland could acquire an All-Star caliber player, multiple rotation players, future draft assets, or a combination of the three to overhaul its roster and give Lillard the support he needs to bring it back to the playoffs, it certainly wouldn't hesitate.But there's a case for keeping the pick, too.Why the Trail Blazers could keep the No. 3 pickLillard will be 33 years old heading into next season. He's coming off of one of the best seasons of his career, but the Trail Blazers wasted it in what turned into a rebuilding year.Portland missed the playoffs the last two seasons and haven't made it past the first round since its Western Conference Finals appearance in 2019.While Lillard undoubtedly still has some juice left in the tank, there hasn't been much evidence to show one major move would catapult the Blazers into title contention.If the Hornets elect to take Henderson, that would put Miller on a silver platter for a team that desperately needs a wing. Miller would be a seamless fit alongside Lillard, giving the Trail Blazers an immediate contributor who could also become a franchise cornerstone once the seven-time All-Star's time has passed.If Charlotte elects to take Miller, Henderson would become the heir apparent to fill Lillard's shoes. Lillard could groom Henderson, who appears to be more than capable of one day becoming the face of a franchise.While neither player would elevate the Trail Blazers to an immediate title contender, either of the star prospects would put Portland in a much better position in the future.

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