When the Portland Trail Blazers fell into the lottery last season, it was supposed to be a one-time thing. They had made the playoffs eight years in a row, but with Damian Lillard injured, they needed to take a gap year, reload, and come back strong in 2023. For a while, it looked as though they might happen. Portland held the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference almost one month into the season and remained in the playoff picture for most of the year.

Lately, however, things have grown dire. Portland has now lost 14 of their past 19 to fall to 31-40. They are four games out of a play-in spot with 11 to go, and after acting as a surprising seller at the deadline, their roster is thinner than ever. On Sunday, even Damian Lillard admitted that this season is probably over.

"We pretty much fallen out of the race for the 10th spot," Lillard said after yet another defeat. "I love to play, I love the competition and I haven't been ready to give that up. But it does come a point in time when do you stop putting your competitive nature out front."