John Hollinger of ESPN.com released his player profiles for the 2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers earlier this week.
Here's his assessment of Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard.
Lillard has some positive markers, but the negative indicators shouldn't be ignored either. Seniors taken in the lottery have a poor track record of success, and Lillard seems to fit the prototype of many. He doesn't have strong athletic metrics, and he played a very weak schedule as a collegian.
The offsetting positive is how tremendously efficient he is offensively. Lillard shot 40.9 percent on 3s and 88.7 percent from the line during his senior year, so at worst he is going to be a tremendous floor spacer. Additionally, despite having to be his team's main scorer at Weber State, his pure point rating wasn't bad. It assumed he'll find teammates more as a second or third option in the pros.
For those reasons, I have no problem with him as a first-rounder, but at No. 6, you want star potential. Based on his age and pedigree, Lillard seems to have a low ceiling in that regard.
A quick sampling of his other notes...
- Nicolas Batum: "His contract should be a solid value given his age, production and potential, but only if his defensive output comes close to the level of his offense."
- LaMarcus Aldridge: "Aldridge is a vastly underrated defensive player. He doesn't put up huge block or steal totals, but his length and mobility make him a good pick-and-roll and low-post defender. He has also developed a very good strip move against opposing post players."
- Meyers Leonard: "The late lottery is basically a graveyard filled with mistake picks on centers. I'm not sold that he'll prove an exception to that rule."
- Luke Babbitt: "Synergy rated Babbitt the league's second-worst defender with at least 190 plays defensed, and the Blazers gave up an impossibly bad 10.2 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court."
- Joel Freeland: "If he can hit some midrange jump shots and his rebounding numbers carry over from Europe, he should give Portland a solid return on its investment."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter