Full Name: Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard
Date/Place of Birth: 7/15/1990-Oakland, CA
Height/Weight-6’ 3”, 195 lbs
Primary Position: PG
Projected Role: Starting PG.
College: Weber State
NBA Draft: Drafted 6th overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2012 NBA draft.
Honors: Big Sky Conference Player of the Year (2010 and 2012), All-American (2012).
11-12 NCAA Averages-24.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 4 APG, 2.3 TOPG, 1.5 SPG. 11-12 College PER: 33.58
Lillard might be from a small conference school but his game is big time. He is an excellent scoring point guard with deep range and high efficiency for a player with as high a usage rate as Lillard. Given that he was pretty much the only reliable weapon on his team, it is impressive that he managed to shoot greater than 40% from deep. Not only is he strong on the perimeter but for a perimeter player he does a great job getting to the line and then converting his free throws (he shot 89% on 8 FTs a game last season). Lillard is also a strong athlete with good lateral quickness and a high motor, always seeking to find ways to improve his game. His workouts reportedly were among the best many NBA scouts have ever seen. He rarely makes silly mistakes and has a high basketball IQ. In short, Lillard appears to be NBA ready from day one. In fact, both his college stats and his combine numbers look eerily similar to another elite NBA scoring point guard, Derek Rose. While he may never reach Rose’s level, the fact that he measured out so similarly to the one-time MVP is encouraging.
Whenever you draft a player this high in the draft from this small a school the obvious question is whether that player is really that good or whether they put up those numbers because they were playing against inferior competition. This is perhaps the reason why some tools such as Hollinger’s draft rater were down on Lillard. While this concern is not without merit, recent examples such as Stephen Curry show that big time players from small schools can succeed in the NBA. The other major concern for Lillard is his floor vision. He sometimes has trouble finding the open man, although this may be due to the inferior teammates he played with at Weber State. As many remarked, it is unclear whether Lillard would have recorded more assists with better teammates and it may in fact be a sign of maturity that he knew that he had to take over since he was by far the best player on this team. Regardless, this is something to keep an eye on.
Did You Know?:
Lillard was not heavily recruited out of high school, being ranked only a 2-star recruit despite being one of the better players in Oakland, CA.
Lillard was both freshman of the year and first team all-conference in 2009, the first Big Sky player to do so since NBA PG Rodney Stuckey.
Draft day this year was named “Damian Lillard Day” in Weber State’s hometown of Ogden, Utah.