Friday, June 29, 2012
Blazers select Lillard & Leonard with both lottery picks
The Portland Trail Blazers were picking in the lottery for the first time since 2008 held the #6 selection(from the Gerald Wallace trade to the New Jersey Nets) and the 11th selection(their own) in this years NBA draft. For the second straight year the Portland Trail Blazers selected a point guard in the first round. With the 6th pick overall they took Damian Lillard from Weber St. which plays in the Big Sky conference. Then with the 11th pick overall they took center Meyers Leonard from Illinois Fighting Illini. The Blazers are hoping with this draft and a more healthy season out of LaMarcus Aldridge that they can return back to the playoff picture. This has been a tough year for the Blazers franchise that operated the entire season without a general manager, fired head coach Nate McMillan who had been coaching the team since the 2005-06 season, Brandon Roy suddenly retired(he is making a comeback) and finally Greg Oden was released as he missed all of this year and will miss all of next season. The Blazers who were the up and coming franchise back in 2008 just four years later found themselves back in the draft lottery a place no team wants to be.
The Blazers last two drafts haven't added up as they passed on Kenneth Faried who made all rookie team in leading the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs in favor of point guard Nolan Smith. Then this year they passed on big man Andre Drummond in favor of Lillard. With the following pick they took a big man in Leonard so the Blazers admitted they needed a big man why not take Drummond who has so much more upside? If you planned on giving up on Nolan Smith after one year why not take Faried who had an elite skill set which is rebounding. I guess that is what happens when you conduct a draft last year without a general manager. Hopefully this works out for the Blazers who are coming off a disappointing 28-38 season which saw a coaching change and finally a new general manager. The Blazers with two lottery picks I felt could have done more but ultimately time will tell if this was a good draft or not.