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Deveney: NBA Scout Says Damian Lillard Can Start Immediately But Lacks Upside

Sean Deveney of offers his 2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers season preview.

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Sean Deveney of provides his 2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers season preview, including a tid bit regarding rookie point guard Damian Lillard.

Outside view (from a Western Conference scout)

"Watching Lillard the times I got to see him play in college and then again watching him in summer league, you can definitely see why a lot of teams fell in love with him. He is polished and he knows how to score; he does not make many mistakes. He was a (redshirt junior), so he is going to be ahead of some other guys coming in as rookies, and in the long haul, that probably means he doesn't have the same upside as some other guys. But I think he can come in and take the starting reins right away and be a pretty good point guard from Day 1."

Our view

Unless one of the rookies off the bench really prove to be a big-time find, the Blazers' rebuilding program will continue into next summer. That doesn't mean they're far off, not with the front-line talent they have, but there is no way they have a shot at staying in playoff contention with a bench this weak. Guard Nolan Smith has been a disappointment, forward Luke Babbitt can shoot but does little else, and the rookies are unknown commodities. The Blazers will be fun to watch, but they will ultimately head back to the lottery.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter