Trail Blazers 1st round selection (6)
After weeks of working out many athletes and reviewing countless hours of film, the Trailblazers found themselves drafting Damian Lillard from Weber State with the 6th overall pick in the Draft. Not only was Lillard the first first-round pick to come from Weber State, he was also the first point guard off the board.
A native of Oakland, California, Lillard is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated players that declared for this years draft solely for the reason that Weber St. fails to receive a lot of national attention that it likely deserves as a basketball program.
The nation’s second leading scorer with 24.5 points per game last season, Lillard will be looking to make an impact early and often for a Trail Blazers team that is looking to retool and reload at the same time.
If you are unfamiliar with Damian Lillard, here is a summary of what the kid will bring to Rip City.
Height – 6’3″
Weight – 195 lbs.
D.O.B. – July 15, 1991 (21 years old)
High School – Oakland
College – Weber State
Position – Point Guard
How did he become a Blazer?
Lillard was acquired with the 6th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers received rights to the 6th pick in the NBA Draft in a trade with the New Jersey Nets for Gerald Wallace.
The Blazers also received Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams from the Nets.
2011-2012 College Statistics
Lillard was an outstanding player for four years at Weber State, although his 2010-2011 campaign was just a brief 10 games due to an injury.
Having his most outstanding season in 2011-2012, Lillard opted out from his final season to declare for the NBA Draft a year early.
As a senior, Lillard appeared in 32 games, played 1,105 minutes and tallied 784 points.
Along with those stat lines, Lillard also hit 231 of his 495 field goals (.467) while also making 94 of 230 3-point attempts (.409).
As mentioned earlier, Lillard finished 2011-2012 with an average of 24.5 points per game to go along with 5 rebounds per game and 4 assists per game.
Throughout his entire college career, Lillard accumulated an average of 18.6 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game.
As is evidenced by his statistics, Lillard has what it takes to become one of the better scorers in the NBA.
A kind of player that can hit shots from anywhere on the court, Lillard has excellent size at 6’2″ for the point guard position and can elevate much higher than the average point guard, also evidenced by his surprisingly adequate rebounding ability.
Lillard has excellent ball control both in- and out-of traffic, and can pull a fast one on his defenders if they prove to be lackadaisical in their play.
Though he could add just a little more bulk to his frame, Lillard is a great definition of what it means to be an all-around player.
He can hit shots from anywhere on the court, drive to the lane, and rebound; attributes that will be key to his success in the NBA and in Portland.
Besides his need to fill out his frame a little bit more (although players like Kevin Durant has shown you don’t need to be the biggest and beefiest to have success in the NBA), Lillard must prove to his coaches and the rest of the NBA that he can be a leader on the court and spread the ball out to his teammates.
Relied more on as a true scorer than a leader at Weber State, Lillard needs to develop a team-leader mentality for him to fit into his role at Portland. Crucial to this will be the way he spreads the ball out among teammates, a skill that he has yet to perfect due to his style of play during his college years.
With this minor tweak to his playing style, Lillard should quickly show why the Blazers were smart to select him with the 6th overall pick instead of Kendall Marshall, another big point guard prospect in the 2012 NBA Draft.
As the Portland Trail Blazers continue to move beyond the Brandon Roy and Greg Oden era of team history, rookie Damian Lillard will be instrumental in establishing a new winning mentality in Rip City.
Though he may not have been the most popular player in all of college basketball, Lillard proved that he deserved to be selected with the 6th pick in the 2012 Draft because of the statistics and way he played while at Weber St.
As time goes on and Lillard learns to spread the ball out more, he should develop into one of the more well-rounded players in all the NBA.
Look for him to soon be leading the Portland charge back to the NBA playoffs as he grows year-by-year.