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2012 NBA Draft: Mister Lillard Goes To Portland, And The Invasion Of Euroball

Damian Lillard greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected number six overall by the Portland Trail Blazers during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Clearly neither man has been taught a proper smile.
Damian Lillard greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected number six overall by the Portland Trail Blazers during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Clearly neither man has been taught a proper smile.

Tonight's NBA Draft has come to a close, and not too many things were wildly least until the tail end of the draft. Seven of the last 13 selections were European players, none of whom will even come stateside, let alone see time on an NBA court, for at least one or two years. I think this was NBA GM's being too willing to take risks on guys who are nothing more that big men who can ball handle? We will have more this weekend, I assure you.

It all started with Portland actually sticking to their word and drafting our good buddy Damian Lillard with the #6 pick, a solid move by them. They've been lacking a starting-caliber point guard of any kind since Brandon Roy was healthy, and no matter if he's well-rounded or shoot-first, Lillard will fill that void.

This is a good pick for the Blazers. The team needed a point guard, and I think Lillard has a chance to be very good at the next level. He is efficient, is a great shooter, gets to the rim and plays hard. He needs to improve his court vision, but he's a hard worker, I think he'll get better and better. -- Chad Ford

Chad, you're a dang copycat. I mean visionary. Anyways, on to the rest of them...

~ It was a bit of a wait before another mid-major player was taken off the board, but to little surprise the next one to go was UC-Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson being drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the 36th pick. He had dropped some recently, but was originally projected as the second mid-major player to go (though that was at 29 to Chicago). Johnson was almost immediately dealt to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations.

Johnson is a big-time scorer -- a good shooter with a crazy long wingspan. The Pacers needed help at the 2, and as a four-year senior, Johnson will come in and help right away. -- Chad Ford

~ After that, Will Barton got drafted by the Portland Trailblazers at #40 (during a commercial break, no less). I can only imagine that the Blazers may have snatched up Will Barton because they could use a scoring wing and the Kings beat them to the punch on Orlando. Though I have absolutely no clue what it means to be "a very bouncy athlete," or how that qualifies as analysis.

Barton was an elite high school prospect who really came on in his sophomore year at Memphis. He has a great midrange game and is a very bouncy athlete. It's hard to find scorers like this in the second round. He could be the starter at the 2 for the Blazers someday. He's that good. -- Chad Ford

~ The Utah Jazz then took Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy with the 47th pick, which was a few picks lower than he was expected to go, and it's a strange pick. The Jazz' lone rotational hole is at small forward, where Josh Howard was their primary starter but is now gone after having only signed a one year deal. The two remaining small forwards on the roster (Demarre Carroll and Jeremy Evans) played a total of 546 minutes last season.

Murphy was one of the best scorers in college basketball last year. He's an excellent shooter with deep range on his jumper. This is a nice sleeper pick from the Jazz. -- Chad Ford

No Chad, he isn't really a sleeper - he went three spots below his projections - to a team that doesn't need a shooter. The other problem is that, as we discussed in our draft profile, Murphy largely played small forward in college because he played at Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference, not because that's his natural position.

He is (as currently built) much too small and defensively lacking to play there regularly. He's the same size as Missouri's Kim English, who was described as "skinny"... for a shooting guard; he's 30 pounds lighter than Quincy Acy, who was described as "undersized for his position" (small forward). So; does this mean the Jazz used their lone 2012 draft pick on a back-up for Gordon Heyward? Surely there is something else in the plans for Utah.

*Jumps down off his soap box, proceeds with a recap of the draft.*

~Kyle O'Quinn also got drafted during the commercial break, heading to the Orlando Magic with the 49th pick. For a team whose third best F/C is Glen Davis, this is an excellent selection and a guy who can contribute immediately if the team needs a fill-in for Ryan Anderson or, perhaps, Dwight Howard. Again, Mr. Ford, not really a sleeper pick, as teams had him rated higher than this.

O'Quinn made a name for himself in the NCAA tournament and in two pre-draft tournaments. He isn't a great athlete, but he's long and really competes around the basket. A bit of a sleeper pick who could help Orlando in the paint. -- Chad Ford

~Last but not least, the Los Angeles Lakers made one last mid-major selection in the draft. Robert Sacre, the big center out of Gonzaga, was taken with the 60th and final pick in the draft. This makes sense for a team that might lose Andrew Bynum and/or Pau Gasol in the near future, but that's about all.

He's huge, he can score a little and block a few shots. He's a so-so rebounder. He's solid, but that's about all you can say. Enjoy, Laker fans. -- Chad Ford

Yes, that's the best there is to say about a guy who was selected, on purpose, with an NBA draft pick.

Guys who seem to have been jobbed: Scott Machado, Cameron Moore, Alex Young, Eric Griffin, maybe even Jet Chang?