Since the dawn of the new millennium, the Portland Trail Blazers have experienced more than their fair share of ecstasy and agony from the NBA Draft. While the search for a reliable big man continues to elude them, their guard selection has been among the league’s best. Testifying to the point, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype.com ranked two of those guard selections among the top fifteen rookies since the year 2000. Brandon Roy of the class of 2006 and Damian Lillard of the class of 2012 both charted in the rankings.
For Roy, ranked at number 15, Urbina cited his immediate impact on the floor.
Roy’s first-year marks – 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists nightly on impressive 45.6/37.7/83.8 shooting splits – made the Washington product appear to be next in line among the league’s great guards.
Roy won Rookie of the Year, but only lasted seven seasons in the NBA due to recurring knee injuries. He made three All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams. He is currently the coach for Garfield High School in Seattle.
Lillard scored at number 13, with Urbina giving praise to his offensive instincts.
More than anything, however, it was clear right away Lillard was going to be a special scorer. And it was never more apparent than on March 8, 2013, when Lillard went for 35 points and nine assists against the San Antonio Spurs’ third-ranked defense.
Lillard also won Rookie of the Year, and has made three All-Star squads.
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin came in at number one, with Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons behind him.