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Could Lillard win ROY?
Damian Lillard was taken No. 6 overall in the 2012 draft, but from the hype he has received so far in this young season, it's quite possible the Portland Trail Blazers may have a franchise talent. Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey threw that label around on draft night, and one of the main reasons he's been a surprise is because of the lack of fanfare he received in college at a small school (Weber State) in a lackluster conference (Big Sky).
To aid Lillard's development, the Blazers brought in David Vanterpool, a former scouting and player personnel manager from the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. Vanterpool has been as equally high on Lillard as Olshey has been.
Vanterpool, a former point guard himself, gave an in-depth scouting report of the youngster to BlazersEdge.com:
He can flat out shoot the basketball. He has a quickness. He has some very, very good explosion. Being able to affect the game at any moment, being able to shoot the basketball the way he does, from our 3-point line, is not always the easiest thing, especially for a rookie coming in. You come in as a point guard, you get other guys the ball, you don't always shoot immediately, but he has the ability to wait it out, take a shot and it's going in. You get a lot of confidence and consistency with that. Those are three of the things that really stand out to me: his ability to shoot the basketball, which is great, his quickness, and his explosion.
He's also pretty good at finishing around the rim. Being so small and compact he can still finish around the rim. He can definitely take contact, his body is built for that.
Being such a special kid, a good kid. Character plays a big part in this league in my opinion. Where I came from, Oklahoma City, that was way up high, dealing with guys and dealing with people we wanted in our organization. What's being built here will hopefully be a part of that. Damian is a big part of that, he's one of those good character guys.
Lillard has the potential to be Rookie of the Year in a very loaded rookie crop, and the Blazers feel that he has the potential to be their point guard of the future, which is nice since he'll pair up with another franchise talent in LaMarcus Aldridge. Blazers fans are beginning to feel much better about having lost Brandon Roy to retirement (never mind the fact that he came back with Minnesota) and Greg Oden to injury after injury. Life goes on.