It’s been a long afternoon and evening of the 2012 NBA Draft. I’m sure by know basketball fans from around the country have worn out Google getting to know the league’s newest members.
The Blazers, as we all know, managed to effectively address to their two largest roster holes with their 6th and 11th picks. Once I’ve had some time to work it over in my mind, I’ll have a more comprehensive wrap-up/reaction to Thursday’s events.
I’ll tease my feelings a little by saying this, it’s nice to see Portland go into a draft knowing what issues they have to address and come out having addressed those issues. This isn’t like last year’s draft where everybody knew Portland needed a serviceable big guy, and the team decided to go with Nolan Smith.
Until I have the brain power to create a comprehensive and, hopefully, insightful take on Portland’s draft night, I’ll leave you with the Blazers’ official press release welcoming Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, and Will Barton to Rip City.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Trail Blazers have selected guard Damian Lillard, center Meyers Leonard and guard Will Barton in the 2012 NBA Draft tonight.
“With the depth of players available, this was one of the more intriguing drafts that I’ve been a part of,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “I thought it was a very good night for the team and our fans. We got the guys we wanted. We still have work to do, but tonight was an important step forward.”
Selected with the sixth overall pick, Lillard, 21, finished his four-year career at Weber State with averages of 18.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.25 steals. The two-time Big Sky Conference MVP and Oakland, Calif., native placed second in the nation in scoring last season with 24.6 points per game (46.7% FG), earning Associated Press All-American Third Team honors.
“We’re really happy with the way this year’s draft unfolded for us,” said General Manager Neil Olshey. “We had the opportunity to acquire the best two players at their position who will help us move the needle and fit nicely into our emerging roster. Now we quickly shift gears to be very aggressive in free agency.”
Portland picked Leonard, 20, with the 11th overall selection out of Illinois. He posted averages of 13.6 points (58.4% FG), 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.88 blocks per game his sophomore season, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors while leading the conference in blocked shots and placing third in rebounds per game.
The Trail Blazers used the 40th overall pick in the second round to select Barton, the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year, from Memphis. Barton, 21, averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.49 steals in two seasons with the Tigers. He led the conference in scoring last season with 18.0 points per game.
In addition, Portland conveyed the draft rights to guard Tyshawn Taylor, selected with the 41st overall pick, to Brooklyn in exchange for cash considerations.
I know you all have opinions on how Portland drafted. Let us know what you think.