Damian Lillard - heading back west to Portland?
Some interesting developments for Damian Lillard, who is suddenly splayed all over the middle of the lottery depending on which recent mock draft you look at:
Per ESPN's Chad Ford:
"Weber State's Damian Lillard has been doing only solo workouts. So far he has worked out for the Raptors (6/12), Kings (6/13), Blazers (6/15) and Warriors (6/17). The Hornets have been trying to get him in, but he'll come only if they agree to a solo workout. It's an interesting strategy for Lillard; I'm not sure whether it's going to help him or hurt him.
Of the teams he's worked out for, it sounds like the Blazers are the highest on him. He had a very strong workout in Portland that ended with a dinner invite from Paul Allen. The question is whether the Blazers take him at No. 6 or No. 11. With teams like the Warriors, Raptors and Hornets also high on Lillard, he might not be around by the 11th pick."
I am not really sure why Lillard is insisting on the solo workouts. The one question mark that is consistently brought up is how much evaluations are skewed by the level of competition he faced during his time at Weber State. Wouldn't he want to make an effort to eliminate that concern by working out alongside and against those players from bigger schools?
On the one hand, I guess I can understand the idea of wanting to workout alone in order to be evaluated as an individual, so statements about your ability aren't made as "well, compared to..." but rather as flat out talent data. Then again, when teams repeatedly say "we worry about whether you faced good enough competition in college" and then you insist on not facing that same competition in your workouts, they might get the wrong idea about you that you're trying to cover up some weakness.
Lillard is still a lottery pick, though I think the arguments for him being chosen by Golden State (Steph Curry insurance) and Toronto (if Dion Waiters is gone) aren't as strong as for Portland or New Orleans (teams who need a point guard)- the latter of whom seems at least a little less likely to take him and pair him with Anthony Davis, especially since their need for bigs went up with the trade of Emeka Okafor. Maybe dinner with Paul Allen was just what the process needed and he'll head back out west for his NBA career.