Grading the Portland Trail Blazers Draft Picks Under Neil Olshey

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Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Damian Lillard

Olshey’s first selection as general manager may have turned out to be his best. With the 6th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Blazers selected point guard Damian Lillard out of Weber State.

Lillard was amazing in college, and the only reason he fell to number six was that he came from a small school. Those concerns were quickly proven to be baseless. Lillard exceeded expectations from day one. In Lillard’s first NBA season, he averaged 19 points and 6.5 assists while starting all 82 games en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award.

Lillard continued to increase his scoring average during the next four seasons. He is a three-time All-Star, three-time All NBA selection, and perennial MVP candidate. Lillard is currently averaging 27.3 points per game and is unquestionably one of the best players in the game today.

Reflecting back on the 2012 NBA Draft, Lillard has easily outperformed all the other prospects in his draft range. The fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson is out of the league. The seventh overall pick Harrison Barnes has had a solid career but is nowhere near Lillard in terms of talent or production.

The Blazers were able to end up with perhaps their best player in franchise history in an overall weak draft year. That is very remarkable.

Grade: A+

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