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2012 Draft Thursday, June 28th: Raptors select Terence Ross

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  • huh uh!


    • I'm very intrigued as to what will happen if the Raptors do not move up in the lottery. There are a lot of prospects that the Raptors could take a shot at which would vastly change the types of moves that need to follow it up.

      Perry Jones III as the SF of the future? Jeremy Lamb coming in as a potential elite SG (which puts DeMar at SF or bench)? Or attempting to find the PG of the future with someone like Lillard or Marshal (both very different styles)?

      Damian Lillard is not a player that I have read much about this year outside of watching him rise up the draft boards. I knew that he was the second highest scoring player in the country, second highest PER, but that there were questions about his facilitating and how he accomplished these stats against weaker competition.

      On January 4 Draft Express wrote about Lillard as the Prospect of the Week.

      After playing only nine games in 2010-2011 and being granted a medical redshirt, Weber State's Damian Lillard is off to a tremendous start through thirteen games as a junior, leading the nation in per-game scoring and doing so with remarkable efficiency. His hot early season play has caught the attention of scouts, who will likely be watching him closely throughout the remainder of the season to get a better feel for how his game might translate to the NBA level.

      As we've mentioned before, Lillard possesses very appealing physical tools for an NBA point guard prospect, standing at 6'2” with an excellent frame and wingspan, to go along with very good athleticism.

      He combines those physical gifts with a confident, attacking mentality and a well-rounded skill set, playing as a scoring point guard, capable of carrying a large load offensively at the college level. While he was already an intriguing prospect going into this season, he's made some clear improvements in his game that he's been able to display thus far as a junior.

      Much of Lillard's improved efficiency can be traced to his hot shooting, connecting on an outstanding 45% from 3-point range despite increasing his attempts (he shot under 40% in previous seasons).

      As we noted before, he does have a bit of a low release point, but he has no trouble getting his shot off, whether it's off the catch or off the dribble, where he's able to fluidly pull-up from well behind the 3-point line, or utilize a very effective step-back dribble to create space to get his shot off. About two thirds of his shot attempts this season have been jumpers, and his percentages off the catch and off the dribble are almost the same, illustrating his versatility as a shooter.

      Lillard has also done a better job of taking care of the basketball thus far, cutting his turnover rate almost in half from previous seasons. This is quite an impressive feat, considering his heavy usage and how much his team depends on him to create offensively. To illustrate that, he actually ranks #1 amongst all NCAA point guard prospects in terms of turnovers per possession, coughing the ball up on just 10% of his possessions.

      The large emphasis of the pick-and-roll game in today's NBA bodes well for Lillard, as he's shown to be very effective as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll situations. His ability to smoothly pull up off the dribble from deep range makes it difficult for his defenders to go underneath the screen, while his burst off the dribble allows him to turn the corner quickly and get into the paint.

      Lillard does a good job of playing at different speeds and is capable of driving in either direction, which keeps defenders on their heels and helps him get to the free throw line at a very strong rate. Once there, he knocks down an excellent 90% of his attempts.

      As a finisher in the lane and in transition, Lillard has very good body control, strength, and vertical explosiveness, which all help him to finish at the rim in traffic, even occasionally with a high-flying dunk if he's able to build up a head of steam.
      He looks comfortable using either hand to finish and shows flashes of an effective floater, which he'll need to continue to work on, as it's a valuable tool for NBA guards to utilize in the paint. Nevertheless, Lillard shows a very complete scoring arsenal for a player his age, which certainly bodes well for his transition to the NBA level.

      Lillard still hasn't shown a great deal in terms of pure playmaking ability, but he looks to have nice passing instincts on dribble penetration, and his role at Weber State calls for him to be their primary scorer, so it's tough to get a gauge of just how much of a distributor he might be in a different situation. This might be the biggest question he faces as enters the draft process, as he's clearly not big enough to play any other position besides point guard.

      As a defender, Lillard is showing much of what we've already seen from him in the past, moving well laterally and utilizing his length to play intense on-the-ball defense. He'd have a huge adjustment to make to defending NBA point guards full-time, though, as it's apparent he can lose his focus from time to time, after expending so much energy on the offensive end.

      He has the physical tools to make the transition, but it will be a drastic change in the level of talent he's facing on a regular basis, after playing at a lower level of competition at Weber State.

      Overall, Lillard's outstanding start to the season has generated quite a bit of buzz regarding his NBA potential, but scouts may have some challenges projecting just how much of a difference maker he could be due to the competition level he faces, and the role he plays.

      He struggled in a couple of his higher profile games in losses to Cal and BYU--which may have hurt him somewhat--but did score 36 points in a losing effort against Saint Mary's.

      Unless he's able to lead his team to the NCAA tournament, he may not have many more big games to prove himself, which could make him slightly more difficult to project when he enters the draft, whether it's this year or after his senior season.

      Regardless, Lillard has certainly established himself as a hot name in NBA draft circles, and he'll have plenty of teams lined up to get a closer look at what he brings to the table. Right now we have him projected as a first round pick.

      My concern with this type of move is that it still leaves the Raptors weak on the wings as we still would not have a SF to go forward with (outside of J. Johnson) unless we acquire one through Free Agency, another trade pick (whether second round or trading in again) or simply through trade (not sure what assets we could give up though that would get us anything.

      Either way we would still most likely have a hole to fill going forward, but if Lillard could be an asset to both Valanciunas and Bargnani that would be huge as the team develops. If he can distribute off of penetration then the pic n' roll with Valanciunas and the pic n' pop with Bargs would be nice weapons.

      Also, if he is the asset defensively that Draft Express expects him to be then he would help Coach Casey in a big way.
      Last edited by Shantz; Mon Apr 30, 2012, 10:03 PM.


      • NoPropsneeded wrote: View Post
        Here's an article by David Aldridge on his SF big board. Its pretty long so i won't post the entire article but I'll give y'all the link so you guys can check it out later if you haven't already.

        I'll just highlight the Q.Miller part haha

        Reading between the lines it looks like the Raptors might have him off the board.

        "But one team that will likely have a high Lottery pick has already taken Miller off its board because of concerns about the knee. An Atlantic Division executive said that Miller will have to do a lot of convincing of skeptical teams at the Chicago pre-Draft camp next month. If not, Miller could slide down the board."

        NJ only has a pick top 3.
        PHI isn't high.
        NY isn't high.
        BOS isn't high.


        • Don't Boston own someone's lotto pick?


          • damn it i hate when your right matt.


            • The last paragraph says it all

              Despite being projected as a likely top five pick, Perry Jones surprised many last April by electing to return to Baylor for his sophomore season, citing the need to "grow as a player and person," and “have fun” before leaving for the NBA.

              After a fairly average freshman season production wise, at least relative to his talent-level, the burden was on Jones to have a much stronger year, as he would no longer be able to rest quite so heavily on the laurels of his upside.

              Unfortunately, Jones' follow-up season was fairly disappointing. His production dropped or stagnated in several key areas, and many were left to ponder whether he simply isn't a good fit at Baylor, or if he lacks the internal motivation and wherewithal needed to get the most out of his unbelievable natural tools.

              Upon announcing his decision to return to school, Jones was asked what he thinks he needs to improve the most on the following year. His answer was fairly revealing: “My motor. To be able to keep playing consistently throughout the entire 40 minutes of the game.”

              With another full year to evaluate Jones, it doesn't appear that those questions are going anywhere. If anything, they've only gotten much louder.

              One thing that no one ever questions is Perry Jones' talent. Just how rare and unique a player he is becomes immediately evident the moment you start watching him. He has a tremendous combination of size, athleticism and skills, making him appear to be capable of doing anything he wants on the basketball court. He shows terrific footwork inside the paint, has 3-point range on his jumper, can handle the ball fluidly from coast to coast, and is a breathtaking finisher around the basket.

              What isn't quite as clear is why Jones struggles so much at times to make his presence felt over his college career, and why we didn't see more improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons.

              Jones' usage rate dropped this year, as he accounted for just 18.1% of his team's possessions, which ranked 54th amongst the 81 college players in our top-100 prospect rankings. His scoring production fell, as did his efficiency. His field goal percentage went from 55% to 50%, and he got to the free throw line much less frequently than he did as a freshman.

              Jones is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, as he can do a little of everything, but nothing in his game is especially polished. He does not have a consistent means of putting the ball in the basket, and he goes through long stretches where he doesn't have any impact on the game, although part of that may have to do with the way he was utilized.

              He sees the biggest share of his possessions in the post, either with his back to the basket, or facing up from the mid-post. He doesn't really have the strength or toughness to be overly effective backing opponents down, but his excellent size, length and quickness allows him to get shots off here with relative ease. He shows nice potential with his smooth footwork and soft touch around the basket, particularly with his jump-hook, but will have to improve on his ability to draw fouls and finish through contact if he's to maximize this part of his game.

              Where Jones seems to be more effective at the moment is facing up from 12-18 feet in isolation settings. His incredibly quick first step and long strides allow him to blow by opponents, and he can finish strong at the rim thanks to his terrific leaping ability or with a floater inside the paint.

              Unfortunately, his lack of experience and average feel for the game hampers him here somewhat. He often struggles to read the secondary line of defense rotating into the paint, as he's not a great passer on the move and isn't quite advanced enough with his ball-handling ability or off-hand to weave his way around defenders.

              Improving as a shooter could help make him a more efficient offensive player, as he took 3.5 jumpers per-game this season, but only converted 36% of them. The main issue here appears to be his shot-selection. He has a tendency to settles for too many off-balance fade-aways at inopportune times, even when he has a clear path to attack the basket. At this stage opposing defenses don't have any real issue getting him to take the shots they want him to, something that will hopefully change as his knowledge of the game improves and he better understands how to take advantage of his unique strengths.

              Defensively, Jones again has great potential, but is somewhat of a mixed bag when it comes to actual results. His tremendous size, length and phenomenal mobility should theoretically allow him to guard up to three positions in the NBA, but his poor fundamentals, awareness, intensity and toughness certainly put a damper on that, as does his occasional lack of focus.

              His team played a lot of zone the past two seasons, which will likely make the transition to playing man to man defense a little rougher initially considering his lack of experience. Right now he's clearly better using his size and length defending big men inside the paint rather than forwards on the perimeter, where he tends to get lost.

              Similarly to last year, Jones was a surprisingly average rebounder and shot-blocker this season for a player with his athletic tools, not showing much in the ways of instincts, hustle, or physicality, particularly in terms of boxing out.

              Jones is going into this draft process with quite a bit less momentum than he had last year. His last college game was an especially poor NCAA tournament showing against Kentucky, where his team was thoroughly dominated and all his weaknesses were seemingly on full display.

              With that said, Jones can easily turn that momentum around with strong workouts and interviews in the next two months, as he's exactly the type of prospect NBA GMs tend to fall in love with in June. At the moment, he clearly has no idea how to use the tremendous tools that are at his disposal, but it's far too early in his career to definitively say he never will.

              In a strong environment with great coaching and plenty of patience, Jones could become a very useful NBA player, and surely there will be no shortage of teams willing to invest in his talent. The question is, how high in the draft will he ultimately be selected?



              • ceez wrote: View Post
                Don't Boston own someone's lotto pick?
                No. They own their own and the Clippers (via OKC).


                • Is the lottery really a month away?


                  • Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
                    The last paragraph says it all
                    PJ3 is just too intriguing to ignore with the 8th pick. I'd feel somewhat lucky if he was still available when it's our turn.


                    • PJ doesn't appear to me to fit the "hit the ground running" mantra expressed by BC. Can or should this team take a gamble (based on 2 yrs of very high profiled visibility and scouting) on such a player at this stage of it's evolution? We already have a fairly passive team. I want a little fire! His own self evaluation confirms a lack of this very necessary ingredient to make the next step. What if he never overcomes this? I think it is an unnecessary gamble at #8.


                      • People keep forgetting Casey keeps stressing "motor" is a quality whoever they draft MUST have. PJ3 has zero motor. Zero.


                        • ceez wrote: View Post
                          People keep forgetting Casey keeps stressing "motor" is a quality whoever they draft MUST have. PJ3 has zero motor. Zero.
                          he doesn't stress it as much as you guys say he does. He probably said it like once or twice and you guys over exaggerate it so it favors your argument


                          • Even if he only said it once the fact remains, champ.


                            • ceez wrote: View Post
                              Even if he only said it once the fact remains, champ.
                              not really... your saying he "stresses it" if he said it once thats not stressing it. Stressing it would be saying that literally every interview


                              • ceez wrote: View Post
                                People keep forgetting Casey keeps stressing "motor" is a quality whoever they draft MUST have. PJ3 has zero motor. Zero.
                                Well, I guess we don't really know what level of motivation PJ3 requires to succeed. If a new team, playing a new position (SF), and with better opportunities to learn, is deemed to be enough, then the risk may be overblown. But that'll be up to Colangelo and his crew to figure out.

                                But man, if this guy figures it all out, look out.