NBA Draft 2012: 6 Bold Predictions for Portland Trail Blazers 4 Picks
Damian Lillard could be the next great Blazers point guard.
The Portland Trail Blazers have plenty of options with each of their four picks, even though their first selection will hinge on whether or not Andre Drummond is taken within the first five picks.
The Blazers have four picks in the 2012 NBA Draft—Nos. 6, 11, 40 and 41.
If Drummond is available, the Blazers will more than likely select him with the sixth pick. He'd be the best option for a team looking to get back to the playoffs.
As the following predictions are bold predictions, I have decided to leave Drummond off of the list. It's just too likely that he'll go within the top five.
The Blazers will definitely have a much easier go of things with Drummond available, but either way, there's no reason to believe that they won't have a successful draft if they do their research and choose wisely.
Selection No. 6, Choice A: Damian Lillard
The Trail Blazers had big-time issues at point guard this season. Raymond Felton and Jonny Flynn were incapable of getting it done, and it's definitely time for a new guard to orchestrate the Blazers offense.
That guy should be Damian Lillard from Weber State.
Lillard is the best point guard available in the draft, and his stock has risen significantly after an outstanding draft combine.
In his junior season at Weber State, the 6'3" point guard from Oakland, California, finished second in the nation by scoring 24.5 points per game. That was the best single-season average in Weber State history.
Lillard is explosive and would do wonders for an underachieving Trail Blazers team.
This draft has the potential to turn around the Portland franchise, and the smartest move at No. 6 would be to take Lillard.
Selection No. 6, Choice B: Jeremy Lamb
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While I think Lillard would be the better option, drafting Jeremy Lamb at No. 6 wouldn't be too bad of a move either.
Lamb had a great season at the University of Connecticut in 2011-12, scoring 17.7 points per game while dishing out 1.7 assists per game.
He may not be a true point guard, but he could be capable of playing the position if he puts the work in.
He's already got great court vision and is very good at running the floor, so he could very well be the Blazers' next great court general.
Even if the Blazers choose to leave him at shooting guard, Lamb would be a solid pick. He could learn from Jamal Crawford (if he's still around) and Wesley Matthews and be ready to play consistent minutes within a season or two.
It's really hard for the Blazers to go wrong with the No. 6 selection.
Selection No. 11, Choice A: Austin Rivers
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It may be a reach, but Austin Rivers at No. 11 would be a nice choice by the Blazers.
Of course, if they had drafted Lamb, drafting Rivers wouldn't be very wise. Let's just assume that their first selection was Lillard, though.
Rivers is one of the most explosive scorers in the draft, and he could pair well with LaMarcus Aldridge. As a freshman at Duke, Rivers scored 15.5 points per game to go along with 2.1 assists per game.
He's a solid shooter from beyond the arc as well, as he shot 36.5 percent from deep in his lone season at Duke.
Under the tutelage of Crawford and Matthews, Rivers could learn how to be an effective NBA scorer.
Selection No. 11, Choice B: Meyers Leonard
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Meyers Leonard is arguably the second-best available center in the draft, and his strength and NBA-ready frame could be directly inserted into the Blazers rotation.
While Joel Przybilla is currently No. 1 on the depth chart, good play from Leonard could quickly bump him into the top spot.
If given the choice between Rivers and Leonard, I would think that the Blazers would choose Rivers. While Leonard can fill a completely different need for them, he is still learning the game. Rivers is the more polished player at this point.
That being said, the thought of pairing Leonard with Aldridge is exciting.
With opposing teams trying to guard both big men at once, Portland's guards could find more openings and more opportunities to score.
This is another one of those picks where it's really difficult to go wrong.
Selection No. 40: Henry Sims
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If Portland chooses Rivers over Leonard, then going after a center in the second round would be the most logical choice.
The draft's top centers will all be gone by the time the No. 40 pick rolls around, but Henry Sims, a guy that fell just a few spots below the top centers, could be an interesting option.
Sims, a senior from Georgetown, is a defense-first type of center with great shot-blocking ability. Although one of the lesser-known talents in the draft, he could potentially be a big-time defender in the NBA.
At worst, he'll become an above-average role player.
He stands to improve his low-post scoring, but with Rivers and Lillard potentially joining Aldridge, the Blazers should have plenty of offense to mask his inept scoring ability.
Selection No. 41: Kris Joseph
He's an incredible athlete and has great leaping ability, making him a nice high-upside pick for the Blazers.
With a great first step and ability to score off of the dribble, Joseph could blossom into a player capable of providing some instant offense.
He's also a terrific rebounder as a small forward. He loves to hang out near the rim and attacks the glass off of missed shots.
The key to Joseph's game will be developing consistency with his jump shot. Otherwise, he'd be a solid pick at No. 41.