Basketball analyst Ed Weiland, a FedEx driver from Bend best known as the "Guy who saw Jeremy Lin coming" -- profiled in the New York Times (here) and Wall Street Journal (here) -- offers his thoughts on Portland Trail Blazers rookies Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton on HoopAnalyst.com.
Damian Lillard, Portland: I'm not a huge fan of Lillard. His college numbers suggest he's a better fit as a scoring 3rd guard than a point guard. I'm particularly wary of his ability to put up numbers as the PG to an established, highly-paid trio. But he has the potential to be a pretty good NBA scorer and he's been handed the starting PG job. That should put him in contention for the award. He had a good summer league and has played well so far in the preseason, so it's possible I've underestimated him. But I've seen fast starters before who flamed out when the league caught up to their limited talent. A good recent example being Randy Foye.
Lillard's rookie teammate, center Meyers Leonard, is listed as the starting center on some depth charts. I doubt this will last long, as Leonard looks nowhere near ready to play at an NBA level. It does make him worth a mention here.
Finally I'll mention a few more players in 3 groups. The first is players I feel have good potential, but are unlikely to break through as rookies because of a crowded roster. Those are Milwaukee's John Henson, Denver's Evan Fournier, Dallas' Jae Crowder and Portland's Will Barton. I do like the long term potential of all 4.
Weiland lists Lillard as the No. 6 candidate for 2013 Rookie of the Year, trailing New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter