Weber State’s Damian Lillard has said that he wants to be a top-10 selection in the 2012 NBA draft, and quite frankly, there are very few reasons he shouldn’t be.
Lillard has moved his way up mock drafts, and despite not getting his team into the NCAA tournament in March, he’s considered by some to be the best point guard prospect this summer.
While this year’s class is likely to be one of the deepest in some time, its selection of point guards is not what we’ve seen in recent years.
Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall are the consensus two best point guards in the draft. With both of them expected to be lottery picks, any team that needs a point guard should think twice before passing on these prospects.
Marshall’s game is that of a facilitator, and while Lillard averaged only four assists per game last season, his play-making abilities could propel him above his fellow point guard in the upcoming draft.
In all of college basketball last year, only Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton had a higher point-per-game average, and only Kentucky’s Anthony Davis—the consensus No. 1 pick—had a higher PER.
Averaging 24.5 points per game, Lillard is the definition of a scoring point guard, which is something the NBA is seeing more and more of these days.
The questions about his competition are valid ones, as Weber State doesn’t exactly play the toughest opponents game in and game out.
You can’t question his talent, though, and as a two-time Big Sky MVP, his talent should be recognized in the upcoming draft.
Shooting ability and scoring ability are two very different things—Damian Lillard has both.
Nearly a 41 percent three-point shooter last season, Lillard’s shot is going to be a great resource at the next level.
A threat to dribble around defenders, Lillard should keep defenses honest by taking any given space and knocking down shots from beyond the arc.
At 6’2” Damian Lillard has the ability to get to the rim and play physically with much bigger opponents.
His five rebounds per game last season are a great example of this, but watching his game in person showcases the whole package.
Along with having a deep-range shot, Lillard is an excellent penetrator and can get himself into the paint on a regular basis.
All of these reasons for Damian Lillard going in the top 10 are relevant by the fact that the NBA has transitioned to an athletic point guard’s league.
When the league eliminated the ability to hand-check players on the perimeter, it opened the door for smaller, more athletic guards to get inside and attack like never before.
The “true point guard” in the NBA is no longer the guy who is a pure facilitator. Today’s NBA point guard can shoot, score and dominate both ends of the floor with his athleticism.
Lillard does all of these things, and if he does them well at the next level, he’s going to be a great NBA point guard for years to come.