Discussion

Damian Lillard working way into lottery

Updated: February 21, 2012, 1:50 PM ET
By Chad Ford

We're nearing the end of the college basketball regular season. By now, most NBA scouts have a very good handle on the top prospects and are moving feverishly to complete their evaluations before the conference tournaments and NCAA tournament begin.

This week we talk to a number of NBA scouts about five players who are making moves on our Big Board.

Stock Check

We've profiled Weber State guard Damian Lillard twice this season, once as a sleeper and again when looking at the top point guard prospects in the country. Lillard has been a little hard to get a read on because, frankly, a lot of the top decision-makers just didn't know much about him.

Over the course of the past month, that's changed. A number of NBA GMs and head scouts have now either seen Lillard in person or have done extensive scouting work on Synergy. The result?

The GMs and scouts I spoke with were virtually unanimous that Lillard is a potential lottery pick in this year's draft. Teams always have loved Lillard's scoring ability. It's been the other areas of his game that have given them pause.

Lillard has improved in virtually every aspect of his game. He's now a much more consistent threat from behind the arc (he's shooting 45 percent from 3 this season). His turnovers have decreased despite his high usage rate, and he's proved to be a capable floor general when he isn't carrying the team's scoring load.

He's second to Kentucky's Anthony Davis in PER and is the second-leading scorer in college basketball.

In a draft devoid of elite point guard prospects, more and more teams are talking themselves into Lillard. His closest competition is Washington's Tony Wroten Jr. But Lillard's steadiness, maturity and his jump shot make him a better bet right now. We've had Lillard in the mid- to late-first round most of the year, but after an extensive round of calls this week, we're putting him in the lottery for the first time.

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