Damian Lillard (sixth pick)
Position: Point guard
Height/Weight: 6-3, 195
College: Weber State.
Stats last season: 24.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, .467 FG%, .409 3-pt%
Strengths: A scoring guard with exceptional athletic ability who can shoot from about anywhere on the floor. He is a high-character guy by most all accounts, too, and of all the prospects that worked out for the Blazers, seemed to have made the best impression on the front office so far.
Weaknesses: While his four years at Weber State may make him more NBA ready than others, it’s rare that elite talents spend four years in college these days. Moreover, playing at Weber State may have inflated his stock as he avoided constant exposure to the country’s best teams, and his underwhelming 4.0 assists a game last year suggest that he is not the most gifted passer.
Meyers Leonard (11th pick)
Height/weight: 7-1/ 250
Stats last season: 13.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg, .584 FG%, .732 FT%
Strengths: Upside, upside and more upside. Blazers GM Neil Olshey said that Portland selected Leonard with the 11th pick because he had “the highest ceiling” of any remaining player. Standing 7-foot-1, the 20-year-old demonstrated near unrivaled athleticism during his two years with the Illini, displaying flashes of star potential as a sophomore along with a legitimate defensive presence.
Weaknesses: Key word: Flashes. Defensively, Leonard’s athleticism makes him NBA-ready, but he is very much a project on the offensive end, where his post-game’s versatility falls well short of his potential. Will need to fine-tune his skill set to be a true offensive threat.
Will Barton (40th pick)
Position: Shooting guard
Stats last season: 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 spg
Strengths: He’s long. He’s athletic. He has an explosive first step. Such assets helped earn him Conference USA Player of the Year as a sophomore last year in addition to being marked as a midseason candidate for the Wooden Award.
Weaknesses: His weakness? Weakness. Barton needs to add some bulk to his 175-pound frame to avoid getting beat up in the best basketball league in the world. His ball-handling skills are also short of the standard set for an NBA point guard.