Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Olshey: Lillard a ‘Franchise point guard’
Damian Lillard is an NBA paradox, a relative unknown on the national stage during a 4-year college career who will enter his first fall training camp with the greatest of expectations.
“We found our franchise point guard,” Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey said of Lillard, a 21-year-old from Weber State, shortly after selecting him with the No. 6 pick in June’s NBA Draft.
Lillard’s leap from “Have you ever heard of…?” to potentially being the face of a rebuilding franchise lacks a clear recent precedent. A survey of the league’s current franchise point guards bears little similarity to Lillard’s background. Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving came out of the blue blood ACC. Deron Williams played in an NCAA title game while at Illinois. Derrick Rose played for John Calipari (enough said). The enigmatic Rajon Rondo went to Kentucky and Russell Westbrook, often cited an off-the-radar recruit, wound up attending a little program known as UCLA.