Damian Lillard
The Portland Trail Blazers may not have enough games to make it to the play-in tournament this season. Will Newton/Getty Images


  • Damian Lillard may be shut down for the rest of the 2022-23 NBA season due to an injury
  • The Trail Blazers' chances of advancing to the post-season do not look promising
  • Portland may opt to tank to get better chances at the 2023 NBA Draft

The Portland Trail Blazers may end up finishing the 2022-23 NBA season without their top star, Damian Lillard.

The Blazers have nine games left in their NBA regular season schedule and are 3.5 games out of the race for the play-in tournament. The 32-year-old guard missed Portland's last game against the Chicago Bulls due to a calf injury, and the team is "leaning toward shutting down" Lillard for the rest of the season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.

The NBA insider added that the Blazers do not want to risk further injury to Lillard, especially with their chances of playing in the playoffs diminishing.

Portland currently sits at the 13th spot in the Western Conference standings with a 32-41 win-loss record. With only nine regular-season games remaining, the only way the Trail Blazers may get a chance at advancing is if they win most, if not all, of their remaining assignments.

They are 6.5 games behind the 10th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The odds of them catching up do not appear to be promising.

Hence, it may be wise for Portland to preserve Lillard moving forward. Despite adding the likes of Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II, their 2022-23 campaign did not exactly work out as pundits expected.

Instead, the Blazers may opt to not only protect Lillard but also focus on their odds of getting a better position in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Among the top names in the upcoming draft include Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. Hence, there is a chance that the Blazers may opt to give up their last nine games to get better odds of picking a franchise-changing player for the next season, CBS Sports reported.

The Blazers are in a bit of a hole in terms of tweaking their roster. Portland ended up trading away Payton and Josh Hart mid-season, a sign that their previous offseason efforts did not pan out as expected.

The move also raises questions on the status of Lillard. The seven-time All-Star has been a top name mentioned in the NBA rumor mill, suggesting that contending teams would welcome him to the fold if they can afford him.

The Blazers head into another offseason with plenty of questions that need to be addressed.

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard could be grounded for the rest of the season by the Blazers due to an injury. Getty Images | Steph Chambers