David Thorpe of ESPN.com (Insider) lists Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard at No. 3 in his re-ranking of the 2012 NBA Draft class. Lillard trails New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond. This particular ranking is based on the present, not the past or the future.
If we redrafted this class, there would be a debate about whether Davis or Drummond should go No. 1. But the No. 3 pick would be easy. Lillard is just better than any other player in this class except for the two guys above him on this list. He has the rare gift of being a world-class shooter and an extremely skilled ball handler, and he plays with poise and aggressiveness simultaneously.
Lillard will never be the athlete that guys like John Wall or Russell Westbrook are, but it's just as unlikely that those players will ever match Lillard's shooting skill. He is good enough to be the starting point guard on a title team while being one of its top-three players.
Blazers forward Thomas Robinson ranked No. 20 on the list.
In this class, only Kidd-Gilchrist has been a bigger disappointment than Robinson, who was the fifth overall pick. Before the draft, Robinson thought he should be the No. 1 pick, which is laughable now, but at least he has found a way to make an impact for one of the league's best and most surprising teams this season.
Blazers center Meyers Leonard was not included.
Lillard, 23, is averaging 20.1 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 39.6 percent this season.
Davis, 20, is averaging 19.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 3.8 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting 49.7 percent this season.
Drummond, 20, is averaging 12.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks while shooting 65.9 percent this season.
Lillard was the No. 6 pick, Davis was the No. 1 pick and Drummond was the No. 9 pick.
Lillard was unanimously selected as the 2013 Rookie of the Year.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter