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Kubatko: Blazers' Selection Of Damian Lillard Looks Like "Home Run"

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Justin Kubatko, the founder of Basketball-Reference, likes what he's seen from Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard so far.

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Justin Kubatko, writing on the New York Times' Off The Dribble blog, calls the Portland Trail Blazers' selection of guard Damian Lillard with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft a "home run." Kubatko, founder of Basketball-Reference.com, has served as a statistical consultant to the Blazers.

Although it is too early in the N.B.A. season to draw any conclusions, it appears the Portland Trail Blazers hit a home run with the selection of guard Damian Lillard in the first round of the 2012 draft.

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Lillard's strengths thus far mirror the strengths he exhibited at Weber State, namely the ability to maintain a high rate of scoring efficiency while being a focal point on offense, all while keeping his teammates involved in the action. ... Last season at Weber State, Lillard's true shooting percentage of 63.5 percent was the fourth best in the nation among high-usage guards (guards who qualified for the scoring title and had a usage percentage of at least 25 percent). Lillard's scoring efficiency in college has thus far followed him to the professional ranks: his true shooting percentage of 53.2 percent is good for eighth in the N.B.A. among high-usage guards.

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Lillard's assist percentage last season at Weber State was 27.1 percent, by far the team's best mark and the fourth best mark in the Big Sky Conference. This season with Portland, Lillard's assist percentage has jumped to 37.2 percent, the fourth highest figure in the N.B.A. among high-usage guards. Additionally, Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Nate Robinson are the only high-usage guards with an assist percentage of at least 35 percent and a true shooting percentage that exceeds the league average of 52.6 percent.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter