Toronto Raptors: Why Damian Lillard Is the Best Draft Option for Toronto

Patrick BrittonAnalyst IJune 7, 2012

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 17:  Tre'Von Willis #33 of the UNLV Rebels goes for a steal between Damian Lillard #1 and Matt Washington #33 of the Weber State Wildcats during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center December 17, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With rumors swirling that the Raptors are looking to acquire Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala, it appears the Raptors aren’t satisfied with the small forwards available in the draft and would prefer to acquire a veteran instead. Therefore, if the Raptors end up keeping their pick, they should draft a point guard.

The best point guard in the draft is Weber State’s Damian Lillard.  Lillard is 6’2”, 190 pounds and 21 years of age. He is the perfect size for a NBA point guard and will be a quality defender for second-year coach, Dwane Casey.

Lillard is one of the best shooters in the draft. He shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc this season and was an 89 percent free-throw shooter this year. With his size, Lillard will not have to worry about bigger guards blocking his shot and should continue his sweet stroke at the NBA level.

While he is a great shooter, Lillard is also a great ball handler and is quick off the dribble. Defenders won’t be able to just play him tight to stop him from shooting, as he will just blow past them and finish strong at the rim.

The one knock to Lillard’s game is that he is not a quality passer—especially for a point guard. However, because he is so effective off the dribble, he should be able to drive and kick it out to open shooters, which will keep his teammates involved.

I expect Lillard to be a little better than Jeff Teague is currently and could eventually become a top-15 point guard in the league. The Raptors will be fortunate if they can get that kind of talent with the eighth pick and should draft Lillard to be the future point guard of their franchise.